Use It or Lose It: Three Things You Need to Do to Get the Most Out of Your Dental Insurance

Dental Insurance end of year

The end of the year is a time to reflect on all you have accomplished in the past 12 months and remember what you still have left to do — like use up your dental insurance benefits! Some dental insurance plans require you to use up your benefits throughout the year or risk losing them in the next. That’s why December is an excellent time to visit the dentist. While we previously discussed what to do if you don’t have dental insurance, today we’re taking a look at how to get the most out of your dental insurance benefits.

Know Your Benefits

How do you know if you have “use it or lose it” insurance benefits? Get the most out of your dental insurance plan by gathering information on your maximum benefits available (MBA) and your explanation of benefits (EOBs).

First, you will need to locate the full explanation of your dental benefits, whether online or on paper. Before looking over everything in your EOBs, search just for your MBA , which is the maximum amount of money your dental insurance will pay for a variety of dental work in the span of a year. Anything not used by the end of the year is lost and does not roll over. You’ve already paid for your insurance benefits, so you might as well use them!

Next, collect your EOBs sent from your dental insurance carrier after all of the dental work you have had performed over the year, and examine them in detail to see how much your dental insurance has paid to cover it. Totalling this amount and comparing it to your MBA will reveal how much is left that you can use towards dental work by the end of the year. EOBs and other insurance documents can often be confusing, however, so it can be useful to directly call your dental insurance carrier for assistance and to ask how much of your MBA is left.

Make the Most of Your Plan

So, it’s nearing the end of the year, and you want to make sure you get the most out of your dental insurance plan. What are the best ways to use your dental benefits so you don’t lose them? Consider these options:

  1. Visit your dentist for one of your semiannual dental appointments to receive a teeth cleaning and other preventive dental work. This is one of the easiest options to keep up your oral health and to take advantage of your dental benefits, as most insurance plans will completely cover preventive dental appointments. 
  2. Discuss dental plans for the remainder of the year at appointments in the summer or fall months, so you can plan and know what to expect. This helps ensure that there won’t be a scramble to use up your insurance benefits come December, along with everyone else. 
  3. Make sure you know what’s covered by your dental insurance and which treatments are not covered. This will help you determine how to effectively plan out your appointments for the rest of the year and into next year. Your dentist office should be able to provide information about what your insurance plan covers, but you can also directly call your insurance provider or visit their website to learn details. 

If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) through your employer rather than dental insurance, the steps to take to get the most out of your plan are similar. Some FSA plans end on December 31, while others may extend a grace period to use the remaining amount left in your account or allow for a maximum carry over amount for the next year. Only put as much as you expect to spend through your FSA for dental work, discuss treatment coverage with your dentist and FSA administrator, and plan your dental appointments in advance.

Call and Schedule an Appointment

If you need to use up your dental insurance benefits by the end of the year, consider NK Family Dental for your top Chicago dentist and periodontist. See our list of accepted PPO insurance plans and other financing options, along with our many services. Then, call us to schedule your appointment ASAP before December 31! We look forward to treating you in this year and the year to come.


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