As the end of October draws near, most of us are starting to think about end of the year holiday celebrations. However, there is another milestone that happens at the end of December each year that might not be high on your to-do list right now. Every year at 5pm on December 31st (this year, it’s on a Wednesday) the unused portion of your dental benefits will be taken from YOUR pocket and permanently sucked into the ever-bulging bank account of your insurance company.
How can you take advantage of this? For those of you fortunate enough to have health insurance benefits through your work, or privately that you pay for out of your pocket…there could be a gold mine worth of uses for you that your insurance would rather you not know about! If you have benefits reimbursing prescription eyewear, get yourself a great pair of glasses before the end of the year! Maybe you also have benefits for registered massage therapy or chiropractic care, and you’ve been putting off taking care of your sore back. Why haven’t you been making time to take care of yourself? You ARE worth feeling great! Find a great massage therapist and/or chiropractor right now and get started on feeling better.
Of course, I’m a dentist, and so I can speak very specifically about the dental benefits my patients have but don’t always use to the fullest. Most dental insurance companies have a yearly benefit for each family member of $1000-$2000 per year…use it or lose it! This benefit can reimburse you for most, if not all, of the treatment that your dentist has likely already recommended! This might be some fillings to be replaced, or even more frequent dental cleanings each year…or other treatments. Insurance companies don’t want you to know that they will often reimburse you for more frequent dental cleanings than you currently schedule. In fact, many of our adult dental patients come in every 3-4 months for a cleaning, and I do an exam once per year…which will be reimbursed almost entirely by the insurance! Even with this sort of hygiene schedule, many patients still have remaining unused dental benefits which will disappear on December 31st if not used.
Let’s discuss the elephant in the room—of COURSE the dentist wants you to come in for treatment! But let me tell you this, and I speak for my practice but also for the majority of dental practices as well. To me, the best reward I can get in my dental practice from recommending treatment to my patients is having them follow through with what I suggest and being dentally healthy as a result! I actually LOVE when my patients keep coming back for follow-ups and have no bleeding, no pain, no dental disease…just healthy mouths. My biggest satisfaction comes from seeing that what I am recommending is working and helping my patients smile with comfort and beauty and health.
Contact all of your health providers soon to make sure the appointments you wish to reserve are still available. Many offices (like ours) are closed between Christmas and New Year’s Day to enjoy time with our friends and families, so that’s one less week available to take care of your health needs. This is your chance to beat your insurance company at its own game…you pay for your benefits one way or another so you may as well use the benefits you have.
Dr. Andrea Stevens is a cosmetic and family dentist in practice in Kanata, Ontario. If you have dental questions, you can call her at 613-271-7091 or visit her at kanatacosmeticdentist.com Please also feel free to leave comments or questions below, and Dr. Stevens will be happy to answer!