As the end of the year draws near, your calendars quickly begin to fill up with “to-do” lists and events. Whether it’s planning the perfect Thanksgiving meal or Christmas shopping – we know this is a busy time. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holidays, a visit to the dental office might fall pretty low on your priority list. However, now is actually a very smart time to make an appointment with your dentist, because for most people, unused dental insurance benefits and Flexible Spending Accounts reset at the end of the year.
An FSA account allows you to set aside a specified amount from your salary each month to go towards medical and dental expenses throughout the year. These funds are pre-tax dollars. Basically, this means that the amount you contribute is deducted from your gross income before taxes, resulting in a lower amount of income taxes that are required to be paid. The good news: this can result in significant payroll tax savings! The stipulations: the money in this account must be used for eligible expenses and the entirety of the funds needs to be spent annually, usually by the last day of the calendar year, or the money in the account is lost. Most people refer to this as the “use it or lose it” policy.*
While having less-than-expected medical bills is a positive thing, it is certainly frustrating to see your over-estimated funds wasted. If December is looming and you are frantically searching for a way to use your hard-earned dollars, look no further than your dentist and orthodontist. Most dental services, including those listed below, are considered “eligible expenses” for your Flex account.
- Dental Implants
- Dental X-rays
- Exams/Teeth Cleaning
- Gum Treatment
- Oral Surgery
- Orthodontia/Braces, and
- TMJ related expenses
It is also important to stay informed on whether or not you have reached the “annual maximum” your dental insurance provides. Most plans have a stipulated amount that they will pay towards treatment for each member of your policy annually. This varies by plan and provider but is usually around $1,000-$1,500. After this maximum is reached, if your treatment plan requires additional work, even if it is a covered procedure, it is your responsibility to pay in full. Working with your dentist to space treatment over certain time periods will allow you to make the most of your insurance benefits, especially if you know you have work to be completed.
For example, if your treatment plan suggests several fillings, a root canal, and two crowns, and you decide to undergo all of the work in February, you would be over your allotted annual benefit and individually responsible for a large portion of the cost. However, if you split the treatment into multiple visits that stretched over December and January, you would meet your maximum for one year and then, as your policy reset, have a new allotted maximum to apply towards the cost of treatment.
As the end of the year approaches, don’t forget to work a trip to the dentist into your busy schedule. You will not only sport a healthy smile for the holidays but also take full advantage of your dental benefits!
*Under the Affordable Health Care Act, in some cases, an employee can now carry over up to $500 without losing the funds into the next year.
Call today to schedule your next cleaning and check-up today before all the slots are full! Our doctors here at Victory Dental in Boise, ID would be happy to see you! (208) 402-1040