We all know that having health insurance is a necessity, but does dental insurance work the same way? And is it worth your money? In many cases, the answer is maybe.
Health insurance shouldn’t be equated with dental insurance. They have one major difference. While the former will cover your medical bills after you reach your deductible, the latter will only cover your expenses until you reach your annual limit. After that, you will pay out of pocket.
So should you get dental care insurance or not? Let’s have a breakdown of how it works to determine if it’s right for you.
How It Works
You need to select a plan based on what you can afford to pay. Some people also choose based on the dentist that they want to go to.
Let’s say you have a dentist that you regularly visit and he or she is in the insurance company’s network, then you can opt for a less expensive plan. You also have the option of going to a new dentist that’s part of the network, which will come out cheaper too. If your existing dentist is not in the network and you wish to continue with that provider, then you will have to pay more.
Cost of Dental Insurance
The premiums you pay depend on your location, the plan, and the company. On average, Americans spend about $15-$50 a month on dental care insurance, which translates to a typical maximum limit of around $1000-$1,500. The higher the premium, the better the coverage, but most Americans don’t use up their yearly maximum allowance.
Most insurance plans employ a 100/80/50 structure. This means that preventive care like cleanings, exams, and x rays are fully covered; 80% of basic procedures like fillings and extractions will be paid for by the company; and 50% of major procedures like implants or bridges will be covered. Cosmetic work such as teeth whitening will have to be paid out of pocket.
It’s also important to note that one insurance provider may label a procedure as basic, while another may deem it as a major one.
The Pros and Cons
Insurance makes dental care affordable in some ways. It is especially useful in helping mitigate the high costs of unexpected dental emergencies. While major procedures are not fully covered, since the insurance company shares the cost with you, you only pay a reduced fee. Some companies also negotiate lower fees with the providers on their network, generating more savings for you.
The downside is that even if you don’t have any work done, you’ve still spent hundreds out of your pocket for the plan.
So it comes down to this: It is a good investment if you have a family history of dental problems, you have no wiggle room for dental emergencies, or your lifestyle choices make one convenient. But barring emergencies, it might not be worth it if you’re young, have healthy teeth, and no dental needs. In which case, paying out of pocket might make more sense.
Are There Other Options?
If dental insurance is out of budget for the moment, there are other options you can take so that your dental hygiene doesn’t suffer. One of those is availing of an in-house dental plan. Instead of using an insurance company, you pay a fee to your dentist directly (quarterly, annually, or whatever the pay structure requires) in exchange for a reduced rate.
We offer in-house wellness plans to protect you.
Even if you’re not faced with a dental worst-case scenario, a plan in place can save you money. Plus, unlike insurance plans, there are no waiting periods. Know more about our wellness plans by calling 541-708-6288.