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Dental Insurance

Options When It Comes To Dental Insurance

Many Americans suffer from problems that come about because of bad teeth or poor oral hygiene – and in some cases the pain and discomfort caused by toothaches and the like has been compared to the pain of giving child birth. Unfortunately however, when it comes to dental insurance, most of us find that coverage and benefits are extremely limited.

Dental insurance doesn’t offer anywhere near the amount of coverage and benefits that medical insurance plans usually cover; even though dentist bills themselves can easily reach into the thousand dollar range. This is the main reason why the majority of citizens don’t have adequate dental care – because co-pays and out of pocket expenses, even with dental insurance are simply too costly for most of us to afford. And with unemployment rates climbing steadily, more and more individuals and families find that our options for dental coverage are now even more limited than ever before.

There are however, a variety of different types of dental insurance that you can receive – knowing the difference between all of your options will help make a better decision and get the plan that best suits your needs. For example with an indemnity plan you will usually be responsible for a co-payment on every visit, and there is a limit on the amount of annual spending. The advantage here is that you’ll be able to pick your own dentist; this is not the case with some of the other plans such as a closed panel plan, a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plan), a dental care service plan and even some forms of self-insurance, which require you choose from a specific group of dentists.

With a PPO your choices are limited to dentists who can provide the work at a reduced cost, and with a dental care service plan you will be required to choose from a list of non-profit dentists who will be able to provide the work for one flat fee. If you have a direct reimbursement plan, your employer will reimburse you for any costs incurred on your behalf; and you can usually choose your own dentist, too. The problem with direct reimbursement plans is that you’ll still be required to have the money and pay for any services you receive until receiving reimbursement from your employer – and for some individuals and family who live from paycheck to paycheck, this simple isn’t a viable option.

After you understand the various types of dental insurance that are available, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the exact benefits of each plan. For starters, X-rays are almost always covered, whereas fillings may or may not be – it depends on whether or not you are using a composite material for the actual filling. Many cosmetic procedures are not covered by the majority of dental plans, either. However, if you are receiving veneers for the purposes of restoring a smile, your insurance may be willing to reimburse you for a certain percentage of the cost. Most of the time this still leaves you to pay for the majority of the bill, but the reimbursement is better than nothing.

Discount dental plans are a little bit different than the normal dental insurance plans described above, and you might find that you would prefer a discount dental plan for you and your family’s dental needs. For a monthly fee that will be much lower than any premiums associated with dental insurance you can receive some great dental benefits – in some cases even up to 60% off on certain dental procedures through a discount dental plan; and most other types of insurance can’t even come close to that. Though you will be required to choose a preferred dentist through a discount dental plan, your options are much more open when compared to the limited dentists included in a PPO or dental care service plan. Furthermore, there is typically no annual spending limit associated with discount dental plans (although there may be a limit on the number of annual visits) and many of these plans also cover pre-existing conditions with absolutely no hassle.

Once you know the ins and outs of both dental insurance and discount dental plans, you’re ready to move on to the next step and finally make a decision. If your plan is through an employer, make sure to ask your co-workers about their experience with the dental options offered at your work. Many times they’ll be more than willing to share their opinion with you – good or bad. You may also want to get in contact with the human resources manager at your place of employment, and inquire about their personal recommendations, too.

After you have a list of possible plans and dentists to choose from, it’s time to call some local offices and get the facts there. Don’t be afraid to ask about any restrictions, limitations, and exact procedures that are performed there – if you’re going to trust your dental health with the office, it’s important that you know exactly what they have to provide. If you don’t like what you hear from one place, move onto the next – there are plenty of other dentist offices out there. However, if you are satisfied with what you hear, don’t be afraid to set up a consultation appointment – many offices offer consultations completely for free. Here you’ll be able to see the office in person, and talk with the dentist and assistants face to face. If there is anything here that is not up to your expectations don’t be afraid to move on and look elsewhere. In the case that you are still not decided about the exact plan or dentist you want to use, ask for some brochures or pamphlets from the office –often times they’ll have some information handy that may help you make that final decision.