Ask the Expert: Back-to-School Month Means It’s Time to Schedule the Kids’ End-of-Year Dental Visits
Too many families leave thousands of dollars on the table with unused medical and dental benefits. Here’s how to make sure you don’t lose any of your hard-earned money before the end of the year.
Labor Day! It’s our national signal for the end of summer, start of school and beginning preparations for fall. It’s also the time families should be scheduling appointments to make sure they use their medical and dental benefits before the end of the year.
Many of our Jersey City Pediatric Dentistry patients’ parents have dental benefits through an employer-sponsored plan or a plan they purchased through the HealthCare Marketplace courtesy of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. A good portion of these plans have annual benefits that will reset after December 31st, though some plans do have reset times at different points in the year. We encourage our parents to use those dental benefits to the maximum amount each year to make sure they're getting out of their plans everything that they've put into them.
According to the American Dental Association website, 97% of families with PPO dental insurance plans leave money on the table when their plans reset at the end of the benefit year. This is something dental insurance companies count on, but it may help save your family hundreds of dollars to use up dental benefits this year rather than putting off check-ups, cleanings and treatments until next year.
Schedule Check-Ups Now to Beat the Holiday Rush
This back-to-school season is a great time to make sure you're making the most of your annual dental benefits. Often parents will schedule physicals for sports and appointments for vaccinations around this time of the year. This is also a great time to schedule a dental check-up and cleaning. Remember that most plans pay 100% for preventative maintenance. You don't want to leave that money on the table. Making sure your child has her routine check-up, cleaning and x-rays will help reinforce the good dental habits you practice at home. You can schedule the check up and, if needed, still have enough time before the end of the year to schedule any treatment that may be required.
Now is also a good time to schedule appointments bearing in mind holiday schedules. Pediatric dentist offices such as Jersey City Pediatric Dentistry tend to get booked during the four to five weeks before December 31st as parents realize the end of the benefit year is approaching. Avoid this rush by taking care of these appointments during the relatively calmer period of early fall.
Fit in Preventive Care to Maximize Your Dental Coverage
Another thing to remember is that any deductible payments that may be required for your plan will also reset at the end of your benefit year. Deductibles will often cover the whole family so if you or another child has had a treatment that has met the deductible for your family plan, your other child or children may be able to have their treatments without needing to meet a deductible in the same benefit year. You should make appointments for treatments (such as fillings, caps, and extractions) in the same benefit year since you would have already met the deductible for the year. Our Jersey City Pediatric Dentistry office staff can help you to be certain what deductibles are specific to your dental plan.
Take Advantage of Flex Spending
Some of our patients’ parents help pay for their medical and dental expenses with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). Many FSAs require those funds be used before the end of the benefit year as well. Though some plans allow a grace period or a limited amount of carryover funds, you will want to check your plan specifics or speak with your plan administrator to be certain. It’s important to have a good idea of your medical and dental needs for the year (with some padding for emergencies, of course!) to properly direct funds into your Flexible Spending Accounts. You can work with our office to help plan out the pediatric dental needs for your family so you don't put too much into an FSA in any given benefit year.
Our Jersey City Pediatric Dentistry team is here to help! The friendly front office team at JCPD will help you determine what dental benefits you have available and help formulate a plan for the rest of this year into next year that meets the pediatric dentistry needs of your family.
Contact JCPD at 201-434-3002 or go to JCPDentistry.com to learn more about our team. Jersey City Pediatric Dentistry is where little smiles come to shine!