Assess Your Dental Benefits for the Year Ahead

Since it’s tax season and you’re reviewing your finances and other paperwork, it’s also a good time to look at your dental insurance. Here are some things to consider.

  1. Check the contract year. Your dental benefits renew at the calendar year or the contract year. The contract year is usually based on when your insurance plan actually took effect. For example, if your dental benefits started in April, your benefits would typically renew 12 months later, in April. If your benefits renew at the calendar year, your benefits will start on January 1. At the beginning of the calendar or contract year, you start over with the deductible and annual maximum.
  2. Check your deductible. Your deductible is a specific dollar amount that you pay out-of-pocket before your dental insurance begins to cover your expenses. Deductibles usually apply to basic or major treatment, not cleanings or exams. Cleanings and exams are considered preventive services and are typically covered regardless of whether your deductible has been met. Find out your deductible so you can plan accordingly for the year.
  3. Check the annual maximum.Just like your deductible is reset with the start of a new calendar year or contract tear, so is your annual maximum. The annual maximum of your dental plan is the maximum dollar amount the plan will pay towards the cost of care, within a specific amount of time (typically January through December).
  4. Check your lifetime maximum. The lifetime maximum of your dental plan is the maximum dollar amount a benefit plan will pay for your dental care over the course of your lifetime. This usually refers to services like orthodontic or prosthodontic treatment. Some treatment doesn’t have a lifetime maximum. If you check your dental plan, you can plan accordingly for care you or your family might need, like braces for your kids.

It’s a good idea to read through your dental insurance to understand all the details and to be aware of any maximums or limitations. You can also contact customer service with any questions.

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