Fall seems to be the season when open enrollment begins for many employees.  It is typically a period of several weeks during which you can opt into your company’s benefits programs.  During this period of open enrollment, you can pick a dental and medical insurance plan along with other tax savings plans that may be offered by your employer.  If you are confused as to which dental plan to choose or have questions about other benefits being offered, we can help you with that.  There are two  common spending accounts that can help you with your dental co-pays.

A flexible spending account (FSA) is a tax-advantaged financial account that can be set up through a cafeteria plan of an employer in the United States. An FSA allows an employee to set aside a portion of earnings to pay for qualified expenses (such as dental work) as established in the cafeteria plan. Money deducted from an employee’s pay into an FSA is not subject to payroll taxes, resulting in substantial payroll tax savings. You want to be sure to use those funds by the end of the plan year or they will be lost.  This is known as the “use it or lose it rule”.  Employees will often receive an FSA debit card, known as a Flexcard, and can be used to access your account funds at your dental visit.

Another type of plan made available to employees can be a a health savings account (HSA).  It is a tax-advantaged medical savings account available to taxpayers in the United States who are enrolled in a high-deductible health plan.  The funds contributed to an account are not subject to federal income tax at the time of deposit. Unlike a flexible spending account (FSA), funds roll over and accumulate year to year if not spent. HSAs are owned by the individual, and cam be used to pay for qualified medical and/or dental expenses at any time without federal tax liability or penalty. Withdrawals for non-medical/dental expenses are treated very similarly to those in an individual retirement account (IRA) in that they may provide tax advantages if taken after retirement age, and they incur penalties if taken earlier.

These plans, along with your dental insurance, can help substantially towards any dental treatment you may need.  Let us help you maximize these plans.  Don’t wait until it is too late and leave benefits unused.  With good planning, you can have the beautiful smile you have always wanted!