Your dental benefits:
Use ’em or lose ’em
A healthy mouth and a great-looking smile are wonderful things to have – but they’re even better when you don’t have to pay for them out-of-pocket. So, with the clock running down on 2020, now’s the time to start thinking about making the most of your benefits.
There’s lots of time left…or is there?
Sure, it’s only mid-October right now. But – as it does every year – things are bound to get pretty hectic as we approach the holiday season.
First there’s Halloween, then Thanksgiving, which is itself followed up by all those lovely December festivities. And then before you know it, New Year’s Day has come and gone, until a couple of weeks into 2021 you finally remember: oops, I forgot to use my benefits for 2020.
Trust me – it’s something our team hears about every year from our patients. But you don’t have any excuses this year – this is your reminder!
A little help from the tax man
This is an area that a lot of people overlook, but dental expenses can be tax deductible under certain conditions, which are:
- That your dental expenses add up to at least 10% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) for the year
- That the dental expenses are for prevention, treatment, mitigation, and diagnosis of a condition
- That all the costs of your treatment are related to yourself, your spouse, or a dependent in your household
- That you can only deduct expenses which were paid for within the year, not before or after, even if they were related to the treatment
One big thing to note is that you can’t claim tax deductibles on anything that you get reimbursed for. So if you decide to pay using benefits or insurance, then you can’t claim those expenses as tax deductibles.
Lastly, point number one is also why the timing of your booking is so important. Later into the year, your dental expenses may not add up to 10% of your AGI for the year, at which point you won’t be able to claim tax deductions anymore, so take a moment to figure out your plans – it could save you a healthy chunk of change!
Don’t forget about cold and flu season
In any other year, feeling a little bit under the weather might not get in the way of you coming in to visit us for an appointment.
Unfortunately…2020 has not been “any other year”. Which is why, as we find ourselves on the cusp of cold and flu season here in Urbandale, it’s important to keep in mind that you probably won’t be able to visit us for an appointment if you’re not feeling well or have cold-like symptoms.
But the good thing is that – while you can’t control if or when you catch a cold – you can take charge of your appointment scheduling. So if you’re in good health, and you’ve been wanting to come in for a consultation or treatment, it’s smarter to book as early as you can. That way you can avoid the hassle of cold and flu season, while still giving your oral health the attention it deserves.
Not sure if you can claim coverage?
Making dental care accessible is something that means a lot to me, which is why – whether it’s FSAs, HSAs, PPO plans, or our in-house membership plan – I’ve tried to give people a range of payment options when they come to Lawson Family Dentistry.
Still, with all the fine print, rules, and exceptions that some benefits and insurance providers give you, it can certainly be tricky to figure out whether the procedure you’re interested in is covered by your benefits.
Different plans afford people with different benefits, so there’s no universal rule when it comes to which procedures are covered. Generally speaking, though, most plans will cover preventive care – which includes things like fluoride, cleaning, exams, and x-rays – while also providing partial coverage for basic procedures like extractions, root canals, and fillings.
If you’ve got really great coverage, it may help with the cost of things like Invisalign or dentures, but if it’s a cosmetic procedure that you’re after, like whitening or veneers – sorry, you’re probably out of luck.
To find out what procedures you’re eligible for, you’ve got a couple of options. You can talk to someone from your benefits provider, or you can call or visit us with your coverage information. From there, we’ll be able to tell you what coverage you can receive.
Better late than never!
Considering that the year ends in a couple of months, it doesn’t seem fitting to say that “the early bird gets the worm”. And that’s quite alright – your benefits aren’t any better in January than they are in December.
The important thing is that you remember to make the most of the coverage that you’re entitled to. Not only will your teeth look great, they’ll feel great too – and so will the rest of you, knowing that you’ve taken care of your oral health without breaking the bank.
So, whether you’re looking for clarification about your coverage, or you’re ready to book an appointment, it all starts by getting in touch with us. Give us a call at 515-444-5742, leave us a message online, or stop by our office at 4444 Northwest 128th Street.