Making the Most of Unused Dental Benefits

dental benefits

There’s a lot on all of our minds as this year draws to a close, but in the last months of 2020 we shouldn’t lose sight of our dental benefits and how we can make the most of them. Most insurance companies reset their benefits and deductibles at the beginning of the calendar year, meaning that the previous year’s spending no longer counts towards the minimum. For dental care providers this can mean a loss of real opportunity for both themselves and their clients. Every year, millions of dollars in unused dental coverage benefits just disappear into the air when the calendar flips over. That’s a big loss for both patients and providers.

So how can you take advantage of the opportunity, particularly for the minority of your patients who have met their deductibles for the year? Let’s take a look at some strategies that may help both you and your patients get the most out of their dental coverage.

Most dental plans include at least two cleanings and exams a year. As every dentist knows, patients aren’t always the best about remembering to make those appointments, so reminding them via email or mailer that they have unused benefits is a good way to get them to come in and get the treatment they need. This solves several problems at once: it makes full use of their benefits, which would otherwise be left on the table; provides preventative care that heads off future problems; and gives you the chance to detect any nascent issues and address them early.

While routine care is the foundation of dentistry, you likely have patients that are considering some sort of elective or cosmetic procedure and remain on the fence about it. If they’ve met their deductible, now might be a good time to have another conversation about that. Remind them that they’ve met their cost for the year, and that the insurance company will be picking up the bill from there on out. Whether they’ve been waiting for a teeth whitening procedure or are unsure about a cosmetic prosthetic of some sort, this is the right time of year to bring it up and reopen the discussion. They can get the work they’ve been wanting done at no cost to them, make the most of their benefits, and help you meet your goals for 2020.

As with all things regarding insurance, it’s important to understand the nature of the policy in question. They have differing rules and requirements, so addressing that is important upfront. This is particularly true at the end of the year, as splitting up treatments over the course of two different calendar years may have some benefits, depending on the policy in question. Double checking the fine print before planning will help you and your patients get the most out of their coverage.

As you reach out to your patients to discuss making the most of their unused benefits, it’s important to remember that the clock is ticking. With less than two months left in the calendar year and the holidays looming, it would be easy to accidentally schedule an end-of-year glut of appointments, so plan ahead and hopefully you can space out your next round of appointments. Start the conversation now and hopefully 2020 can end on a pleasantly busy note!