Many Bedford residents will be ringing in the New Year while leaving money on the table. With FSAs operating on a use-it-or-lose-it principle, the biggest shopping spree this season might be the end-of-year rush to use up the remaining dollars in your flexible spending account.
FSAs can be a great deal for those who want to contribute money throughout the year toward health-related services that aren’t covered by regular health plans, such as dentistry. They also offer great tax incentives, giving you double-digit discounts on qualified dental and medical expenses.
But any good deal usually has a catch. In this case, the catch is that you have to use the pre-tax money you’ve had your employer set aside by the end of the year, and your employer gets to keep whatever’s left.
Say it ain’t so!
3 Reasons to Use Your FSA Benefits for Dental Work
If you’ve made it to the end of 2018 without needing to tap out your health benefits, we salute you! But if you want to keep up such a great track record, you’ll need to invest in prevention.
- Use it or lose it. Your unused FSA dollars are essentially a bet your employer made with you that you wouldn’t go to the dentist for a cleaning by the end of the year. Unused FSA funds go back to your employer, who is by law forbidden from paying those funds back to you.
- It’s a great investment. The ADHA estimates that every dollar spent on prevention saves between $8 and $50 in restorative dental costs. The savviest Wall Street investors dream of returns like that!
- It may be required. Updated plans might allow for rollover options for unused benefits. In most cases, to qualify for this benefit you’ll need at least one annual cleaning or exam. If you aren’t using all of your FSA funds because you can’t be bothered to go to the dentist…they don’t approve (yes, they’re judging you).
Many plans now allow members to carry forward a portion of their unused benefits to the following year or offer a 2 ½ month extension on existing benefits. Whether or not your FSA includes rollover options is up to your employer, so read your plan closely to understand the conditions that apply and what services or products you can use your benefits on.
Dental Expenses Covered by FSAs
Dental procedures are usually covered by your FSA as long as they are necessary or preventive in nature. Check with your plan administrator to be sure, but here are a few procedures normally covered by FSAs:
- dental cleanings and checkups
- deductibles and copays
- fluoride treatments
- restorative treatment, such as root canals and implants
- dentures and bridges
- mouthguards to protect against teeth grinding
- periodontics or treatment for gum disease
Dental care is one of the best uses for your FSA (or HSA) plan. We’ve almost run out the clock on 2018, so schedule an appointment at our Bedford dental practice right away so we can see you as soon as possible.
~Dr. Marea White