Posted October 27, 2016
Purchasing dental insurance can be a daunting decision. You wonder which plan and coverage options best meet your needs.
Why purchase dental insurance?
Even though you brush and floss your teeth daily, you still may need a filling, root canal or crown during the year. Dental insurance helps offset these unexpected costs.
Researchers report that daily dental care and regular checkups also help to detect certain diseases and infections that could make you ill. When dental professionals examine your teeth and oral tissues, they may find clues about your overall health and symptoms of serious medical concerns. The U.S. Surgeon General reports that preventing disease is critical to helping people live longer; routine dental care can do just that.
Tips for evaluating dental plans
- Medical insurance may not cover dental – Some medical plans indicate that dental coverage is included, but usually the plan covers only a minimum cost for cleanings and checkups; other expenses may not be paid until the medical deductible is met; a supplemental dental plan can help cover the costs of restorative care, such as X-rays, fillings, crowns, root canals or cosmetic orthodontia for children or adults
- Waiting periods and prerequisites – Some dental plans feature a waiting period before some procedures, such as crowns or bridges, are covered; the waiting period can be several months to a year
- Maximum coverage – The plan may have a maximum yearly coverage limit (or annual maximum), which means you pay for dental costs beyond this amount
- In-network or out-of-network coverage – Depending on the design, some dental plans offer in-network benefits through participating providers who agree to charge reduced fees for covered services; with out-of-network providers, only a portion of the cost will be covered and you’ll pay the rest. And some providers offer access to PPO contracted fees (fees for procedures that a dentist has agreed on for certain covered services) to reduce the overall cost of procedures even before a person’s benefits kick in.
- Deductibles and copays – Most plans require a copay or deductible for nonpreventive procedures; usually waived for preventive services
- Review covered procedures – Many dental plans do not cover all dental procedures, especially those considered cosmetic or aesthetic; before scheduling a procedure, check with the plan’s customer service representative to verify coverage
- Rewards and incentives – Several dental plans feature rewards or incentives for spending less than the annual maximum, or visiting the dentist each year and submitting a claim
- Dental insurance carrier reputation – Before committing to a dental insurance plan, check the reputation of the carrier providing the coverage; find out whether customers are satisfied with the coverage, and how many customers stay with the carrier after the first year
Learn more about how to choose the best dental and vision insurance for you from these posts: