If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to safeguard your smile and your budget, adding dental insurance to your existing health insurance cover may be a great idea.
The most important thing to know about dental insurance plans is that they tend to be set up to provide only partial coverage for your dental bills. In most cases, your plan will be set up to cover between 20 and 80 per cent of your costs. Most dental plans also feature a deductible, an initial amount you have to pay entirely out of pocket. If, for instance, you have a $200 deductible and 60 per cent coverage, your insurance will pay for 60 per cent of the remaining balance after you pay the first $200.
Dental Insurance: is it Worth it?
Review all the terms and details of a dental insurance plan carefully to determine if it fits your needs. It helps to have a fair understanding of dental costs in your community. This will give you a good basis for judging a plan’s deductible and deciding if it is reasonable or not.
Dental insurance plans can be more complex than they appear at first glance. Tiered coverage is common. This means that the same plan covers different percentages based on the type of dental work you need. Routine, preventative procedures (such as cleanings and x-rays) are typically covered at 100 per cent. Basic corrective procedures (e.g. fillings, extractions, and root canals) are usually covered at a lower percentage. Most plans group ‘major’ dental work, like crowns, dentures, and bridges, into another tier where the insurance coverage percentage is even smaller.
How Do I Use Dental Insurance?
Dental insurance operates in the same way as ordinary healthcare insurance: Your insurer splits dentists into those that are in your network and those that are out-of-network. Overall costs out of pocket will always be less if you stay within the insurer’s network. Seeing an out-of-network dentist, like a dentist in Fleet, will cost more, but the difference is not usually extreme. If you have an established history with a particular dentist, he or she may be able to accommodate your insurance even if you’re out-of-network. And ultimately, you may prefer paying extra to go out-of-network just to receive treatment from a dentist you like.
Exact procedures vary according to your combination of insurance company and dentist. It’s a good idea to work out the paperwork details as far in advance as possible. With some plans, you need to pay for all of your dental bills out-of-pocket and get reimbursed by your insurer at a later time. In other cases, your dentist may be able to submit claims to receive payment directly from your insurance company. In this latter situation, your insurer will often require pre-approval for non-routine work. The company’s rules may be different for emergency dental work; it’s still a good idea to call your insurer and inquire about approval for an emergency procedure. In all cases, getting your claims approved in advance reduces the odds of running into payment hassles later on.
Note that the way dental procedures are split up into preventative, basic, and major work varies from dentist to dentist and insurer to insurer. Take the time to work out the pricing for each tier based on your specific combination of insurance and dentist.
Where Do I Get Dental Insurance?
Dental insurance may be offered alongside other insurance products coming through your employer. You can also purchase a policy on your own initiative. This is a viable option for the self-employed, and taking out such a policy can reduce your overall dental costs in the long run.
What Alternatives are There to Dental Insurance?
A dental discount card is a potential alternative to carrying dental insurance. Gather as much information as you can and compare the costs that each will entail for your specific situation.
Whether you elect to purchase dental insurance or not, you should make sure your budget includes money for your dental health. A dental insurance plan is attractive because it makes your costs more predictable and provides at least some financial help for unplanned dental expenses. Remember that all dental expenses are essentially preventative — it is cheaper and easier to fix dental problems sooner rather than later.