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Use or lose your dental insurance benefits by end of year

It’s that time of the year again to call your dentist to discuss any end-of-the-year deadlines for using your dental insurance coverage. Taking a few minutes to make this important call could save you a lot of money.

Here’s why: While some dental insurance policies cover basic cleanings every six months, others cover two cleanings per calendar year. If your plan runs on a calendar year, you’ll want to make sure you get your second covered cleaning done by Dec. 31.

Here’s another important reason to call your dentist. Nearly all dental insurance plans also have a calendar-year deductible, which is the dollar amount you must pay out of pocket – before your insurance coverage kicks in – for procedures such as fillings and root canals.  If you already have met your deductible for the year, you could save a lot money by scheduling any additional work you, your spouse or your children need to have done by Dec. 31 instead of waiting until next year.

Most dental plans have a yearly maximum, too. That’s the maximum amount a dental insurance policy will pay out each calendar year for each person covered by the policy. The yearly maximum on many plans starts over on Jan. 1. If you have any unused amount, it does not roll over to the next year.

And one more thing: If you plan on using any money in any flexible spending accounts on dental procedures or prescriptions, you need to do that by Dec. 31, too.  If you don’t use the full balance in a flexible spending account by the end of the year, you lose it.

So give your dental health a checkup as you approach the end of the calendar year. A little planning now could save you some money down the road.