Don’t Ignore Your End of Year Benefits

Don’t Ignore Your End of Year Benefits

Scheduling one last appointment with a Sonora, CA dentist is probably far down on your holiday “to do” list. The end of the year is full of more entertaining options that range from school recitals and holiday parties to family gatherings and vacation plans. However, you could be wasting a lot of money by not reviewing what insurance benefits you’re still entitled to before the calendar flips to 2017. Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering whether or not to clear a little time for some needed dental care.


As 2016 comes to a close, consider how close you have come to reaching your deductible, since it will reset on January 1st. If you have already met your deductible, you have plenty of motivation to take full advantage of any health care needs before your deductible resets.

Annual Maximums

The majority of dental plans feature a maximum dollar amount they will cover during any one year. If Dr. Berger as already recommended you receive dental treatments such as crown, root canals, or fillings, and you have the money remaining in your plan, make sure to have these procedures taken care of before the year ends.

If you wait until 2017 to have the work done, you run the risk of spending all of your available dental care benefits before spring. Additionally, if you need any follow-up work in 2017, you run the risk of having to pay for your treatments out-of-pocket.

Besides, waiting to have dental work done usually just keeps prolonging your discomfort and makes the eventual dental care you receive more complicated.

Flexible Spending Account Balances

For those who receive their dental coverage through a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), your plan is funded with pre-tax dollars to help pay for any health care costs. While the use of pre-tax dollars works to reduce your taxable income so you can save money on your taxes by reducing taxable income, there is a downside.

Benefits do not carry over year to year, which means you’ll lose any money in your FSA account that isn’t used by the end of the calendar year. Make sure to check your FSA plan for any restrictions on the type of services you can apply your fund to, and plan in advance to make sure you can get any desired treatments before the end of 2016.

Some FSA plans do offer a brief grace period (typically about two to three months) that allow you to spend your yearly expenses. If you still have a significant balance as you approach the extended deadline, look over the details of your plan to fully understand all of the different ways you can access that remaining money before it expires.

Plan Changes

Considering that 2017 promises to see significant changes to both the Affordable Care Act and Medicare, you can expect to see a major difference in what your health care benefits will be in 2017. There is no guarantee that your dental plan will remain the same year to year, either.

Make sure you don’t leave any important benefits unused in hopes they will increase next year. Realistically, how often does that ever happen? If you need a root canal or dental implant, but have put off receiving the treatment out of hopes that your dental insurance will cover more of the out-of-pocket expense, you could find yourself actually paying more should your coverage decrease what it will pay.

Finally, putting off seeing your Sonora, CA dentist – whether for financial or personal reasons – only places your long-term oral and overall health in jeopardy. The longer you wait to receive needed preventative and restorative dental care, the more damage can occur that makes the treatment you need more expensive and complicated to complete.

Start 2017 off right by maximizing your dental and health benefits, and enjoy a healthy start to the new year.


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