Posted October 27, 2014
Reviewing health benefit choices can be confusing. Medical insurance often is the first option people consider. They also may want dental coverage, but aren’t sure what they need. Consider these four options for dental benefits.
Invest in your health
Dental coverage is an investment in your health. Research shows that people who have dental benefits tend to use them. In addition, when you schedule an appointment for a professional dental cleaning and checkup, the dentist may see signs of serious medical concerns, such as oral cancer, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease; all by looking in your mouth. Some people see their dentist more regularly than their medical doctors (once or twice a year), which means the dentist may be the first to spot signs of trouble, so it can be addressed early on.
Four types of dental coverage
To select the right dental coverage, it’s important to identify your dental needs. Some people have excellent oral health and require minor dental work. They may need a plan that covers preventive care and features a small benefit to offset the cost of an occasional filling. Others need more extensive coverage to assist with significant dental needs. Review these four dental benefit options:
- Participating Provider Organization – Many employers offer a dental plan that features a PPO network. This is usually a stand-alone dental plan, which means it is separate from medical insurance.
Consider these features:
- Dental insurance carriers negotiate with dental offices in each community for specific fees or discounts.
- Patients must visit one of the dentists in the network for the discounted rates.
- Minimal coverage may be available for dental care received from a dentist outside the network.
- A PPO network usually provides coverage at 100/80/50, which means the plan pays:
- 100 percent of preventive
- 80 percent for basic restorative services, such as fillings
- 50 percent of major restorative services, like root canals and crowns
- Dental Health Maintenance Organization – It’s called a DHMO and it’s the least-expensive option for dental coverage. Patients pay a specific copayment for each service, as long as care is provided by dentists within the DHMO network. The plan will not cover services provided by a dentist outside the network.
- Discount plan – This type of plan is usually available online or through a discount retail store or professional association. Members pay a monthly fee to get a discount on dental care services.
- Indemnity plan – Patients may receive care from any dentist and pay a set copayment each visit. Indemnity plans are available through most dental insurance carriers. This type of plan comes with the greatest flexibility, but it usually features a higher premium.
Learn more about how to evaluate your dental coverage options.