As a family dentist in Beaverton, Dr. Richard Barrett and his staff do their very best to ensure that every patients receives the type of advanced dental care they need to enjoy a healthy smile for a lifetime. For patients with dental insurance, keeping a smile looking its best means taking full advantage of their yearly dental benefits.
Whether taking advantage of dental cleanings and exams, treating a cavity with a filling, or replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant, odds are your dental benefits still have something to give at the end of the year if you take the time to look. In order to understand what benefits you’re still eligible to receive, you need to understand the timing of how dental insurance works.
Decoding Your Dental Benefits
At Barrett Family Dental, we accept most major insurance plans. Because of our familiarity working with so many different insurance providers, we have extensive experience decoding what dental benefits our patients are still eligible to receive.
While every plan is different, most have several major commonalities. Most plans cover dental care on a percentage basis up to an annual maximum benefit. Unlike medical insurance, which often has a maximum out of pocket benefit before the insurance pays the rest, dental plans have a maximum annual benefit. Once that benefit is reached for the year, they provide no additional coverage until the insurance resets. It is critical to understand when that reset point is and plan accordingly. Since benefits don’t carry over year-to-year, the most common time for insurances to reset is the end of the calendar year.
Dr. Richard Barrett reminds his patients once the fall starts to roll around that the time has come to start factoring insurance into their treatment schedule.
Patients with significant treatment needs can often complete a large portion of their treatment during the fall/winter season. By starting significant treatment towards the end of the year, it allows patients to fully maximize their 2019 benefits, and then continue to complete their care using 2020 benefits once the calendar roles over into January. By doing this, patients get the care they need but also minimize their out of pocket expenses. This can amount to hundreds if not thousands of dollars in savings. It also helps patients complete treatment sooner, thereby avoiding any current problem from worsening and requiring more invasive care.
Don’t Let Your Insurance Dictate the Care You Receive
While dental insurance provides great help to completing care, your family dentist in Beaverton feels obligated to remind patients that dental insurance should not be allowed to dictate the course of their treatment.
It’s not uncommon to find that a patient’s insurance won’t cover the type of treatment they require. Due to the costs of healthcare in general, patients often say, “I only want what my insurance will cover.” While it is important not waste our financial resources, deciding against a recommended treatment because it won’t be covered by insurance places your health at risk.
Insurance companies are large publicly traded for-profit corporations that have to answer to their shareholders. In this way, they are no different than Microsoft or General Motors. They write their insurance policies with share prices and profit margins in mind, not with the patient’s well being as first priority. Just because a specific treatment isn’t covered doesn’t make it unnecessary or elective.
At Barrett Family Dental, we understand that dental insurance is a wonderful benefit that helps patients get the care they need. However, patients shouldn’t let their insurance providers dictate whether they receive the type of care needed to restore their smiles back to health. We strive to find a balance between providing the best care possible to our patients, while at the same time maximizing their insurance benefit.
As the end of the year rolls around, it is important to remember that now is the time to utilize any remaining insurance benefits before they are gone for good.