As we continue to survive the COVID-19 pandemic, some of us forget about our dental benefits that will expire two to three months from now. Your health benefit plan is a financial advantage that can give you peace of mind during these difficult times. In this post, we will help you get the most out of your dental benefits plan and FSA.

Why it pays to use your dental benefits now?

Healthcare bills are one of the unexpected expenses that can mess up your budget and leave you buried in debt. That is why having a dental benefits plan is not only a blessing but a financial relief that you must not waste. Going to the dentist also helps you to detect the early onset of a dental condition and prevent it from getting worse which can be more expensive to treat.

Before we discuss the details about dental benefits, it is best to familiarize yourself with the following terms: 

  • Annual maximum refers to the maximum dollar amount that the dental plan will cover. 
  • Frequency limitations are the conditions laid out by the plan provider about consecutive dental treatments. 
  • Deductibles are the funds that you have to pay before the plan can be activated and be used to pay for the services.
  • Copayment happens when you will pay the amount that exceeded your annual maximum.

Dental benefit plans

Dental benefit plans are the benefits provided by your employer to help with the financial costs of your dental procedures. The usual annual maximum is $1000 to $1500 per year. However, every dental plan provider has its own set of policies when it comes to coverage, copayments, and frequency limitations. So, check the policy details of your plan provider before heading to your dentist. 

Things you need to know about your dental benefit plan

Without prior knowledge about your plan policies, you may end up with a treatment that’s not covered by your dental benefit. Here are the plan policies that you must know before scheduling an appointment: 

  • Regardless of the differences, dental plans usually have a 100-80-50 structure. Preventive treatments are 100% covered, while the basic procedures like root canals are 80% covered by the dental benefits plan. Major dental procedures like bridges are at 50% coverage, and the rest will be for the copayment.
  • Preventive dental services also have frequency limitations in your dental plan. For example, you can only have cleanings every six months.
  • Some dental benefits plans do not cover cosmetic procedures.
  • There is a time limit for the services covered by your plan. Fillings, for example, are only valid once every two years on the same tooth.

Tips in using your dental benefits plan this year

Since we are nearing the end of the year, here are some tips to help you maximize your dental benefits plan in the coming months.

  • Take time to read the policy documents from your plan provider. You may also ask them about the coverage details before going to your dentist. 
  • Some dental conditions go unnoticed until you get a dental exam. Maybe it is about time to add a dental visit to your self-care goals this year. 
  • Dental practices like LandMark Dentistry can advise you about the dental treatments you need and give you a timeframe that works with your dental benefits plan.

Flexible spending accounts(FSA)

A flexible spending account is a non-taxable fund where you can set aside a portion of your pre-tax paycheck for your healthcare needs annually. FSA is only available if your employer offers it. The IRS relaxed its rules due to the pandemic and raised the cap of FSA this year from $2650 to $2750.

Things you need to know about your FSA

FSA is a great strategy to save money from taxes. Aside from that, here are the other details that you can use to maximize your FSA:

  • You and your employer can add funds to your FSA.
  • You will only decide once about the amount to be set aside for your FSA. If you failed to use them by the end of the year, the amount left would go back to your employer.
  • Your employer can offer you a grace period with the following options:
    1. A grace period of 2.5 months to pay for the healthcare expenses from the previous year. 
    2. A carryover of up to $550 to the next plan year. 
  • You can use your FSA to pay for copayments and deductibles. 
  • Teeth whitening is not considered an eligible expense. See the list of covered dental services here.     

Tips in using your FSA this year

Here are some helpful tips in using your FSA to fund your dental treatments: 

  • Ask your dentist for a treatment plan estimation to know how much your dental benefit can cover and if you have enough funds in your FSA to pay for the copayment or deductibles. 
  • Spend time in estimating the budget you will add to your FSA. Make it a goal not to over budget to avoid wasting your money by the end of the year.
  • Your dentists can help you with a treatment schedule that can work within the validity of your FSA.
  • You may spend your unused funds at the FSA store where most of the products are considered eligible expenses.

Don’t let your dental benefits go to waste by scheduling an appointment now

Dental benefits and FSA can serve as your backup funds for your healthcare needs during this pandemic. Now is the best time to schedule an appointment before you forget to use them. 

If you are worried about financing your dental treatments, LandMark Dentistry offers our own dental benefits plan in Charlotte, Matthews, Mallard Creek, and Wesley Chapel through our membership club. We also accept patients with CareCredit plans. Contact us now to learn more about our financing options.