Time Keeps on Ticking…
For some reason, time seems to be moving faster than it did when I was a kid. I remember the days when life couldn’t move forward fast enough. I was always excited about the next grade level or life stage and all of the great things that were to come. Now that I have my own kids, things seem to be working backwards. I now want the time to enjoy and cherish each day. The problem is that the older I get, the days seem to pass at an accelerated rate.
Fall is a busy time in the dental office. The first cold front can bring tooth pain to many patient’s attention rather quickly. Kids are back in school, which usually leads to a few falls on the playground or a variety of sports traumas. Halloween comes along and can wake up sleeping cavities that have been growing through the year. In and of itself, the weeklong gorging of candy at Halloween probably does not cause a lot of cavities. The sugar rush just reminds us that the cavities were there in the first place.
All of the above pale in comparison to the real reason that dentists tend to get busy towards the end of the year…expiration of dental benefits. As the year comes to a close, those with dental insurance make a mad rush to keep from losing their yearly allotment of money. Dental insurance benefits that expire tend to be a great motivator to get those teeth fixed before the money goes away.
In our practice, about fifty percent of our patients are provided the gift of dental benefits through their employers or retirement plans. The term “dental insurance” is a bit of a misnomer, as most plans provide benefits only up to a yearly maximum. It is not so much insurance as it is a pool of money to draw from for dental care. Most plans allow up to a thousand or fifteen hundred dollars per year, per patient. The kicker is that any unused money goes away on January 1st, never to be seen again. It is a use-it-or-lose-it system.
In Llano, we are an “insurance friendly” practice. This means that our team members and our computers do all the work in filing dental claims for our patients. All forms, explanations, protests, pictures, and radiographs are sent electronically to the insurance carriers on behalf of our patients. Through the use of technology, we have the ability to file most any insurance form out there. If a benefit plan allows patients to chose their own doctor, we can most likely take care of the paperwork.
This year, Christmas and New Year’s Day both fall on a Tuesday, which means fewer working days in December for most dental offices. If you have benefits that expire, it would be a good idea to beat the rush and see your dentist before you lose those benefits.
Until next week, keep smiling.
-Please send comments to Drs. Parrish at www.ParrishDental.com.