A few minutes searching with Kasasa Care and GoodRx can save you up to 80% on the over-the-counter medications you regularly reach for.
Understanding insurance speak is almost as overwhelming as learning a new language. (Almost.) Plus, it seems like you need a degree in mathematics to understand how to properly budget for your care needs — especially your dental care. At times, it’s easier just to look the other way, make your dentist appointment another day, and vow to develop a flossing habit... starting tomorrow.
This is the reality for many. The high cost of dental care is one of the main reasons why 56% of Americans skip their routine visits. Not to mention the uncertainty — will you walk out with two cavities? Or, somehow, get an A+ rating from your dentist?
If you’re spending your hard-earned money on dental insurance, it's time to learn how to make the most of each and every benefit your plan has to offer — and to be empowered to make that dentist appointment you’ve been putting off. Keep reading to learn how to maximize your dental insurance, so you can keep smiling bright at the best possible price.
Understanding your dental insurance benefits
The first step to maximizing your dental insurance benefits is to understand what your plan covers. We recommend signing in to (or creating) an online account with your dental insurance provider to easily find all the details. You’ll want to look out for your plan’s:
Coinsurance: The (smaller) set percentage you owe for a dental treatment, which kicks in after you reach your deductible. Your dental insurance will cover the rest (until you reach your maximum).
Co-pay: A fixed dollar amount you pay for services for those with a Dental Health Maintenance Organization plan (which typically have no maximums or deductibles). When you enroll, your insurer will provide a list of covered services and their associated co-pays.
Deductible: What you will pay for your dental needs before your dental insurance begins to pay.
Exclusions and limitations: While dental plans can reduce the costs of treatments, they don’t extend to every single dental service (like braces, for example). Also, most plans limit the number of no-cost cleanings (usually two) you can get in one year. Be on the lookout for any noted exclusions and limitations before you enroll in a dental plan.
Maximums: The most money a plan will provide for dental care during a specific period of time, which is usually one calendar year. Once you reach this amount, you will have to pay any treatment costs for the rest of the period.
How to maximize your dental insurance benefits
Find an in-network dentist.
An in-network dentist means that his or her practice is contracted with your dental insurance to provide care to members at a discounted price. We recommend always visiting a dentist that’s in-network so you can get the best possible prices for your dental care and get the most out of your dental insurance.
To find dentists in your provider network, you should be able to use your dental insurance plan’s search tool to find a local dentist based on ZIP code. Kasasa Care partners up with KindHealth and Renaissance Dental to make this easy — and with over 300,000 dental access points to choose from. Learn more here.
Take advantage of your fully covered, twice-annual cleaning benefit.
One of the biggest (and best) selling points for dental insurance is the twice-annual routine cleaning benefit — that costs you $0 out-of-pocket! That’s right: preventive dental care is usually 100% covered, including procedures like exams, cleanings twice per year, bitewing x-rays, fluoride treatments to age 14, and brush biopsy.
These services are crucial — they can help detect cavities and other health problems that can arise from poor dental care, like cardiovascular disease, dementia, respiratory infections, and diabetic complications. To learn more about the connection between these conditions and your oral health, click here.
Strategically schedule major dental procedures.
Most dental plans also come with a maximum annual benefit or coverage limit, which can land somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000. This amount is what your insurance company will pay per year for your dental treatment. When you reach this amount, you are responsible for any costs for the rest of the calendar year.
You can use this to your advantage, though, because some major dental procedures can be spread out across multiple appointments.
So let's say your annual maximum is $1,000, but you’ve just been told you need $2,000 of dental work done. Depending on your situation, you can ask to split the work into two appointments — one in 2022 and one in 2023 at $1,000 for each appointment. (If your procedures can wait that long, that is.)
Develop healthy at-home dental habits.
You’re only in the dentist’s chair twice a year. Maintaining your oral health starts at home (you know, for the other 363 days in the year). Here are a few easy ways to keep those pearly whites shining:
Don’t go to bed without brushing your teeth.
Brush your teeth in gentle, circular motions to remove plaque with a soft-bristled toothbrush. (Or an electric toothbrush, if you have one!)
Floss once per day. (It stimulates your gums, reduces plaque, and lowers inflammation.)
Drink more water to wash out sticky, sugary, and acidic foods and beverages between brushes.
Kill more bacteria and fight plaque with mouthwash
Use your HSA or FSA dollars to pay for dental services.
If you have a health insurance plan that is eligible for a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA), you can use these (tax-free!) dollars to spend on all your dental care... also tax-free!
If you’re new to the world of medical savings accounts, HSAs and FSAs let you put money directly from your paycheck tax-free into an account used just for out-of-pocket healthcare costs, but you need to be enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) or employer-sponsored health plan to be eligible. You can also open a savings account with your community financial institution to save for and spend solely on medical expenses.
Learn more about these accounts (and the other medical expenses you can use these tax-free dollars on) here.
Remember, dental benefits do expire.
Dental insurance plans usually have “use it or lose it” benefits. This means that if you don’t make it to your twice-annual routine cleanings at no additional cost, you lose out on those benefits. What’s important to know is when your benefits renew — some renew every calendar year, some renew from the date of service. Knowing when your benefits renew can help you plan ahead and, of course, maximize your dental benefits.
But if you’re still at step one — finding a dental insurance plan that’s right for you, that is — you’ve come to the right place. (And it couldn’t be easier.) We’ve partnered with KindHealth and Renaissance Dental to bring you low-cost individual and family dental plans you can enroll in online in minutes. Your healthiest smile yet can start as early as today!