Overview of Dental Insurance
- First, here’s a breakdown of how individual dental insurance works. You select a plan based on the providers (dentists) you want to be able to visit and what you can afford to pay.
- If you don’t have a dentist at all, you can choose from any of the dentists who are in the network and again have the option of a less expensive plan.
- If your existing dentist is not in the network, you can still get insurance, but you’ll pay significantly more to see an out-of-network provider—so much more that you may not have any chance at coming out ahead by being insured.
- The monthly premiums will depend on the insurance company, your location, and the plan you choose. For many people the monthly premium will be around $50 a month.1 This means that you’re spending $600 on dental costs each year even if you don’t get any work done
Is Dental Insurance Worth It?
Now, you may be thinking that most people don’t come out ahead with most kinds of insurance, and you may be right. After all, if insurance companies didn’t make a profit, they would all go out of business. Insurance is designed to protect you in a worst-case scenario. Dental insurance is significantly different from most other kinds of insurance. In a good year, when you only need the standard cleanings, exams, and X-rays that make up good preventive care, you could lose money by having dental insurance..
Will It Be There When You Need It?
What about when you need some work done? In a really bad year, your dentist could inform you that you need a couple of fillings, a root canal, and a crown. On top of that, you’ll still have to pay for your usual cleanings, exams, and X-rays. This is the time to be insured, right? That depends.
Unfortunately, your insurance may not be as helpful as you’d expect. Some dental insurance plans have low annual maximums of around $1,000 (this will vary by plan and provider, of course). Once your dental bills exceed $1,000 in any given year, you’re stuck paying the rest of the bills in full. The insurer won’t pay for more than $1,000 in treatment.
You may still pay a lower negotiated fee for the work you need as a benefit of having insurance, but even negotiated fees could be quite high. For example, if the dentist’s regular fee for a filling is $150, the negotiated fee might be $100.
On top of that, while you may pay 0% in coinsurance on preventive maintenance and 20% on fillings, root canals, and extractions, the policyholder’s share of expensive procedures such as crowns, bridges, and implants tends to be a whopping 50%. This is known in the industry as the 100-80-50 coverage structure.
Waiting Won’t Work
Waiting periods mean that, for example, one year after you first become insured, your insurance will not cover any major work (such as crowns or root canals) and for three months after you first become insured, it won’t pay for any minor work (such as fillings). Waiting periods vary by policy.
Dental Discount Plans
Dental savings plans – sometimes called “dental discount plans” – are an affordable, flexible alternative to traditional dental insurance. Think of them as a buyer’s club for your teeth, you join the club and get member-only discounts. With a dental saving plan, you can expect savings of 10-60% on dental care.
How Dental Savings Plans Work
After you join a dental savings plan, you gain access to a network of dentists who have agreed to provide discounted rates to plan members. You pay the discounted rate directly to the dentist after receiving dental care.
Dental Savings Plans: Flexible, Sensible, Affordable
Unexpected Dental Emergencies
You can’t afford to delay critical dental care, but how can you pay that big bill? With a dental savings plan that activates within 24-hours, you can afford to get the care you need – fast!
A Nationwide Network Of Caring Dentists
Why do dentists offer discounts? Because it’s good for their business, and it’s good for the communities they serve. Depending on the particular dental savings plan you choose, you gain access to a nationwide or local network of dentists who welcome plan members.
Affordable Quality Dental Care
Dental discounts don’t mean that the quality of care is reduced. Many dental savings plans pre-screen dentists prior to accepting them into the plan’s network
How to Choose a Dental Plan
You have options with dental savings plans. You can pick the plan that’s right for you by searching:
- By Dentist: choose a plan your dentist accepts, or one widely accepted by dentists near you.
- By Procedure: select your plan based on the savings it offers for the dental care you need.
- By Savings: join the plan that offers the best overall dental discounts in your location.
Advantages Of Dental Savings Plans
- Save 10-60% on dental care, with reduced rates from 100,000+ dentists.
- Use whenever needed: with no maximum annual spending limit; members get discounts on dental care all year long.
- Immediate savings: you get discounts on all the dental treatments included in your plan as soon as it activates, typically within 24-72 hours of joining.
- Flexibility: have dental health problems now, or dental work already in progress? Good news – you still save with a dental plan.
- Easy to join and use: everyone is accepted, there are no background checks and no need to worry about insurance authorizations, approvals, or paperwork.
- Additional discounts: many plans include savings on prescriptions, vision and hearing care and other healthcare services.