When Do My Insurance Benefits Expire?
Every year, your dental insurance benefits reset. For most people, it’s on New Years’ Day. But each time your dental insurance resets, it also means that last years’ benefits expire. In other words, you can roll over an unused, expired insurance coverage into the next year. There’s only a certain amount of coverage or benefits that you can take advantage of between January 1 – December 31, but after that the expired insurance coverage becomes inaccessible.
What that means is that once the calendar turns, any of your unused benefits go away. So, if you missed out on that second (or first) checkup because of the 2020 pandemic, you don’t get to roll them forward into 2021.
Preventive Dentistry Matters
Routine cleanings and exams help you keep your oral hygiene up to par. They also give us an opportunity for spotting potential issues well before they morph into serious concerns. The best part? Your dental insurance probably covers at or close to 100% of top preventive dentistry services.
Preventive care is generally administered during your six-month checkup. It’s designed to enhance your level of oral health and intercept minor issues while they’re still reversible. Examples of preventive services include:
- Dental cleanings
- Fluoride treatment
- Mouth guards or bite splints
- Oral cancer screenings
- Dental sealants for children
- Periodontal assessments
- Routine exams
Getting behind on your checkups means that your out-of-date, expired insurance coverage is basically getting thrown away. You’ve paid for those services out of your monthly premiums throughout the year. But if you don’t use them, you lose them.
The best thing to do to make sure your dental insurance is “working” for you is to make sure you book your checkup every six months on the dot. That way you never get behind on preventive care or have to worry about paying out of pocket because of expired insurance coverage.
Making the Most of Your Restorative Benefits
When it comes to understanding your dental insurance coverage, there are different levels or tiers of treatment categories. As procedures become more complex to treat, they’re elevated to a higher tier of procedure. These different categories of treatments are covered at corresponding rates. So, what might be covered at 75-80% if it’s a basic filling may drop to 50% for a more advanced restorative procedure.
Unfortunately, you cannot roll unused benefits into the next year and “stack” them with your new benefit allowance to cover larger treatments. The expired insurance coverage is no longer accessible. That’s why it’s best to utilize it while procedures are smaller and more affordable. Essentially, you’re getting your insurance to work for you and as a result, you spend less money out of pocket on your dental care.
Not only do earlier treatments cost less, they’re less invasive. We’re able to help you preserve a larger amount of tooth structure, before issues like decay or disease start to eat away at your smile. Ultimately, delaying treatments will reach a point to where the tooth is no longer salvageable. By then, it usually has to be removed altogether.
“I Don’t Know What My Insurance Covers”
Our Newport Beach dental team will do everything we can to explain your insurance benefits and breakdowns in an easy-to-understand manner. That way you’re never caught off guard by surprise expenses. You’ll have all of the information you need to play an active role in planning treatments. And Dr. Yazdan will do everything possible to work it out so that each stage is completed before the end of the year, when your dental insurance benefits expire.
We can check with your insurance carrier to see what benefits are still available, if you’re not sure when the last time was you saw a dentist. New patients are always welcomed in our office! Just be sure to have your dental insurance card on hand when you call to schedule your appointment. That way we can gather all of the appropriate information before you arrive. And if your insurance benefits reset on a date other than January 1st, we can let you know!
Schedule Your Checkup ASAP
COVID-19 led to a significant delay in dental care for more people than ever. Fortunately, preventive dentistry is at the core of most dental insurance policies. By taking advantage of your routine coverage and preventive services, you can cut back on the cost of treatment in the future.
But that’s not all. If you do need treatment, it’s important to take advantage of your included benefits before they expire on December 31st. So be sure to schedule your preventive dentistry appointment well enough in advance, so that you can have time to turn around and treat any issues that may have gone undiagnosed until now.
Our Newport Beach dentist, Dr. Desiree Yazdan, believes in proactive, preventive, minimally invasive oral health care. Schedule your next checkup as early as possible so that we can help you keep your mouth healthy (and dental care costs low.) Call The Center For Restorative & Cosmetic Dentistry today.
About Dr. Yazdan
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