You CAN Afford Dental Care: Some Helpful Tips
Dental care really can be affordable, even if you don’t have insurance. Many times, personal finances make families hesitate to invest in their dental health. To help, North River Dental Care offers a number of flexible financing and payment options, including CareCredit and United Medical Credit. But sometimes, even low monthly payments can still make you feel the pinch in your wallet. Here are some simple tips we compiled on how to help you afford your needed dental care.
Get Regular Checkups!
The best way to keep dentistry affordable is just to visit your dentist on a regular basis! Really! The reason why is pretty simple: the longer a dental problem has to develop, the more expensive it becomes to correct. For example, it is much less expensive to fix a small cavity with a simple filling than it is to repair a large cavity that has been growing for so long that the tooth can’t be saved without a root canal and crown. Unfortunately, many people avoid the dentist because of a previous bad experience or because they think they can’t afford it. As a result, their dental problems grow unchecked and undetected – By the time they finally see a dentist they need major work to save their tooth, if the tooth can be saved at all. Every year you stay away from the dentist can multiply the cost of needed treatment, sometimes exponentially. A much easier, healthier, and less expensive alternative is to simply see your dentist every 3 to 6 months for a checkup, cleaning, and fluoride treatment. That way, problems can be detected early, fixed easily or even prevented in the first place. As a result, your dental visits are easier and more of your hard earned dollars stay in your wallet instead of getting diverted to your mouth.
Create a Dental Savings Goal
Creating a dental savings goal requires a little discipline, but isn’t difficult. Your dental savings goal could be as small as setting aside $30 a month. By the end of the year, you will have already saved $360. If you don’t need any dental work besides your regular cleanings, you can continue to grow your dental savings account quickly over time.
Start Tracking Your Expenses
Many people who start tracking their expenses are surprised to discover some aspect of their budget that seems out of proportion. There are free online money manager websites available that can link with all of your accounts and track all of your expenses. Many banks also offer these online services free of charge as part of a regular checking or savings account.
By viewing a snapshot of all of your expenses, you may discover that you spend $200 more a month on going out to eat than you would like. Awareness of where your money is going every month is key to changing your spending habits.
Schedule an Automatic Transfer on Payday
If you use online banking, you can easily schedule an automatic transfer to take money from your checking and put it into a separate savings account each month. If you schedule this transfer on your payday, you may not even notice that your paycheck is slightly smaller than normal. Over time, you will have a dental savings cushion without any effort. This is a particularly good idea to help you prepare for dental emergencies that might pop up unexpectedly.
Investigate Opening an HSA for Dental Expenses
A Health Savings Account (or HSA) is a special type of savings account for medical and dental expenses. Money that you add to an HSA is tax deductible. Plus, you can withdraw money tax-free to use for qualified medical expenses. To see a list of types of expenses that might be covered, check out Section 213(d) of the IRS tax code. You can also see a list for 2015 here.
HSA’s are not for everyone. In order to qualify for an HSA, you must have a high-deductible health plan, can’t be enrolled in Medicare, and can’t be a dependent on someone’s tax return. Each year, what’s considered a “high-deductible plan” varies. In 2015, this was $1,300 deductible for an individual. (A deductible is the amount you pay before insurance kicks in.) If you have additional questions, we encourage you to speak to a financial or tax advisor, or your dental insurance provider.
The Bottom Line
Despite rising health care costs, dental care can still be affordable for everyone. It’s important to speak to our friendly, helpful staff at North River Dental Care and find out what options are available to you. Schedule your appointment with us and find out how we can help you get the dental treatment that you need!