Dental Insurance

Getting The Most Out Of Dental Benefits Plans

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t have a perfect understanding of your dental benefits or how to maximize your hard-earned dollars when it comes to paying for dental bills. Only 2.8 percent of individuals with preferred provider organization dental benefits reach or exceed their annual maximum, while others forget to take advantage of flex spending accounts. This means you may be leaving money on the table each year. Learn how you can maximize your dental benefits and ensure you take advantage of all your dental care options.

Dental Plans

Most people have a dental plan either through their employer, their spouse’s employer or through the insurance marketplace established by the Affordable Care Act. This involves paying a monthly premium for dental coverage, regardless of whether or not you see the dentist. Since you’re paying for it, you might as well take advantage of it. But how can you do this?

For starters, make sure you’re getting regular preventative dental care. Usually, these are recommended every six months, and since prevention is preferred to treatment, these visits are often fully or majorly covered by your insurance. If your dentist finds a cavity that needs work, you’ll have to schedule another appointment, but that preventative cleaning is usually fully covered by your insurance plan, so take advantage of it.

Next, know your dental plan and talk to your dentist about potential issues. Most plans have a waiting period before a percentage coverage amount kicks in. This is to prevent someone from putting off major dental work until January 1 when they can choose a different dental plan. In many cases, preventative care is covered right away, minor work like cavities and sealants are covered after a couple of months, and major work like a root canal needs at least six months of premium payments before the insurer will cover a larger percentage of the cost. Talk to your dentist to see if any problems may be developing down the road, so if you need a bigger surgery in a few months or years, you can select a plan to offset more of the cost.

Please keep in mind dental insurance is a benefit used as a supplement and not designed to take care of all potential dental needs. If you have any questions about insurance coverage or eligibility, give them a call using the phone number on the back of your dental insurance card.

Flex Spend Accounts

Another way to pay for dental visits is through what’s known as a flexible spending account, or FSA. These are typically offered through your employer, and during the enrollment period, you decide how much of your paycheck goes into this account. Sometimes your employer will match a percentage or contribute in another way to your FSA, but even if they don’t, you’ll want to take advantage of it because it is pre-tax money. This means the money is taken out of your paycheck before taxes are withdrawn, which ends up saving you roughly 33 percent.

For example, instead of having that extra $200 on your paystub, which is then taxed and cut to roughly $130 on your direct deposit, that full $200 goes into your FSA and your paycheck is taxed at $200 less than normal. Instead of having $130 to pay for dental bills out of your checking account, you have $200 to spend out of your FSA.

The caveat here is your FSA can only be spent on certain things, like medical or dental bills. But, if you need dental work, you’ll end up cutting your bill down by about ⅓ if you can pay it out of your FSA. Your FSA covers a lot of dental work, like cleanings, insurance co-pays, hardware like braces or dentures, etc.

Some FSA’s expire at the end of the year, so be sure to learn about your account, so that money you have stashed away doesn’t disappear at year’s end. Some companies allow you to use it into the next year, while others allow you to carry over a portion or set amount of money, so just make sure you don’t have $800 in your FSA if you can only carry over $500. Learn the rules, and make sure you aren’t leaving money on the table.

For more information about dental insurance or maximizing your payment options, contact our team today.

Dental Insurance

4 Tips for Finding the Right Dental Insurance

Shopping around for dental insurance can be frustrating. With so many factors to consider, how do you pick the best plan for yourself and your family? Our goal is to help you understand your insurance. Remember that dental insurance is not designed to cover all of your needs. Dental insurance is more of a supplement than a true insurance and the benefits are limited to typically $1000 to $2000 a year and not carried over year to year. It is an agreement between the employer (or patient if an individual plan) and insurance company.  As a provider we don’t have control over what the insurance will pay. We want our patients to know our goal is to recommend and provide quality dental care but insurance may not pay for all your needs.  In this article, we are going to offer a handful of tips for finding the right dental insurance to fit your needs.

Services Covered

The first thing you should look at is what services are covered under your policy. Exams? Routine checkups and cleanings? X-rays? Another thing to consider is what services do you plan on using? This can help guide you through the various policies available to you. Be sure you understand what exactly your policy covers and at what percentage.

Pre-Existing Conditions

Be sure to check your policy to see if there is a pre-existing conditions clause. This could make the cost of your dental care more expensive than you were anticipating.

In-Network Providers

If you already have a dentist or clinic that you like, make sure they are an in-network provider. Visiting out of network providers can increase your dental costs.

Waiting Periods

Some dental insurance policies have waiting periods for certain procedures like bridges and crowns. Check to see if your policy has waiting periods for any such procedures.

Minnesota Dental Clinics

At Smiles for Life, we’re happy to talk with you through any dental insurance questions you might have. We’re here to make your dental visit as painless as possible! Finding the right dentist is important for your overall dental health. Dr. Tim Brooks has many years of experience as a family and cosmetic dentist, serving patients throughout Minnesota. At Smiles for Life, we provide compassionate care to each and every patient we treat. Contact us today at Smiles for Life Dental to set up your appointment with Dr. Brooks. We have dental clinics in Bloomington and Farmington, but provide treatment to patients throughout the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota.

Dental Insurance – Things to Consider

Dental insurance is like a never-ending maze that often leaves you feeling confused and uncertain about the benefits it actually provides.

One benefit we offer our patients is that we’ll always take time to help answer your dental insurance questions. We will do our best to be your advocate and help you maximize your benefits. Ultimately, what the insurance will or will not cover is based on the contract YOU have with your insurance company. Since we are only the provider of services, we cannot control what your insurance will or will not pay.

Things to Consider

If you are considering changing your dental insurance, here are a few things to consider:

  • Are routine cleanings, exams and x-rays covered and at what percent?
  • Is there a pre-existing condition clause?
  • Is there a waiting period for procedures such as crowns and bridges?
  • What services will you use?
  • Is your provider in-network?
  • How long will you have the plan?
  • Is there a premium cost for you?
  • If you need work done, how much does it cost with and without insurance and how does that compare to your premium costs?

If you have questions about your insurance and what is covered, please let us know or contact your benefits administrator.