Your Dental Benefits in the New Year
Now that we've flipped the calendar to a new year, planning is underway for many. As you're organizing your finances and other paperwork, it's also a great time to check on the status of your dental benefits.
First, check to see if your dental benefits renew at the calendar year or the contract year, which is usually based on when your plan actually took effect. For example, if your benefits started in April, your benefits would typically renew 12 months later, in April.
If your benefits renew at the calendar year, the annual slate will typically be wiped clean on your benefits such as:
- Deductible: Your deductible is the set dollar amount you must pay out-of-pocket before your dental plan begins to pay for covered services, so you'll need to meet this amount again for the new year. Preventive services, such as exams and cleanings, are typically covered regardless of whether your deductible has been met.
- Annual maximum: This is the maximum amount your dental plan will pay toward your dental care within a specific period, often a calendar year. Now that the year is up, your annual maximum resets if your plan renewed January 1. If you were holding off on treatment because you reached last year's annual maximum, you may want to schedule an appointment now.
While you're assessing your dental benefits, you may also want to review where you stand on lifetime maximums. This is the maximum amount of money your plan will pay toward specific services, such as orthodontics and prosthodontics, over the course of a lifetime. Many services have no lifetime maximum. Always check the specifics of your dental plan to understand any applicable maximums or deductibles.