Having the correct type of dental insurance plan is an irreplaceable part of a healthy life. No matter what happens, being prepared is always better than getting caught with no protection. The idea that you have that security would make anyone happier and more content in their work and relationships. Dental health is one of the things in life that helps build confidence, but it could also break it.
The Importance of Dental Care
Watch Out for the Warning Signs
Issues regarding dental health can arise very unexpectedly. Visiting the dentist is not something that you can easily postpone. Planning an emergency trip to the dentist’s office usually can’t wait for more than a week. When there is an immediate issue, you will most likely know it, and you’ll have to get to the dentist’s office as soon as possible. As with any other medical condition, the more you put it off, the worse it could potentially get.
Don’t Put it Off
Some people might get scared before going to the dentist and delay the trip, but there are also other reasons for putting it off. For example, someone may worry about not having sufficient funds to cover any unexpected procedures. And in most cases, you won’t know what you will be getting done and how much will it cost before you arrive. Not to mention that you will be already too overwhelmed with the actual process of being to the dental office. The last thing you’ll need will be worrying about your budget. You and your family deserve to start planning.
Every part of your body deserves regular attention. Oral health, especially, is a significant aspect of your well being. Regular check-ups and cleanings are significant preventative measures but don’t rule out the chance of having something more serious. In time, your dental health may deteriorate with something more severe and something costly needs to be done to your teeth. With some planning, it is possible to prepare for when this time comes. One way to go about this is having a talk with your dentist right after your regular examination. You cannot find a more suitable time to start looking at insuring your dental health.
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When to Choose a Plan
Your dentist can assist you in selecting the right plan for your problems. Even if there are no apparent issues right now, your dentist will be able to give you predictions on what might occur in the future. A period of 1-2 years could be broadly assessed by a dentist, based on current oral health at the time of a check-up. Dentists also have experience and know-how to look out for common issues that people of your age group often face. Doing this can ensure that preventive services are scheduled for the near future. Trust their advice and try to start looking for the dental insurance plans that will cover your needs.
Another consideration for you is purchasing a family plan. An insurance plan should cover more specific criteria for a whole family. Your kids, for example, will most likely need different procedures from adults. In this case, aim for broader insurance offers. Get more options and make sure that you won’t get surprised with an unexpected additional cost. Read your documents carefully to gain an understanding of what exactly is covered and what is not. Don’t get caught paying for insurance only to find out in the dentist’s office that they don’t cover the treatment you need. An insurance policy should serve your immediate needs and not be an extra financial burden.
Prioritizing Dental Insurance for the Future
If you are facing some serious financial difficulties, you might consider giving up dental insurance. The truth is that this could be a risky decision that leads you to more unexpected expenses. You or any member of your family can’t predict the future, but your dental coverage can give you security. It should be a priority to have insurance because of the nature of the procedures.
If you are hesitating, look at the prices of dental work. An uninsured person will have to cover the full amount listed. You can’t negotiate prices when you are already seated in the dentist’s chair. It’s not a matter of choice. Unhealthy teeth not only lead to further health consequences, but most of the time can be impossible to ignore.
Things to Keep in Mind
Getting dental insurance can be one of the most beneficial ways to spend money on yourself. Healthy teeth don’t come cheap, and some people naturally suffer more from teeth-related issues than others. Don’t take your current situation for granted, just because you are a bit short on money. Other things can be tossed aside from your monthly budget before giving up dental insurance. There is most certainly going to be a suitable insurance plan that fits your financial profile, as well as your needs.
On the other hand, cheap doesn’t mean best, and less expensive plans should always be carefully reviewed. The dental coverage that they provide could prove to be insufficient. The point of starting a dental plan is to reduce your future expenses and not have them pile up. When your insurance is inadequate for your necessities, you will have to cover the excess. Cheaper plans don’t guarantee you are going to get your money’s worth in the future.
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What You Should Consider Before Getting Dental Insurance
In some cases, signing up for a dental insurance plan might need to happen at a specific time of the year. That time is usually called the "open enrollment period," during which time companies encourage you to purchase a plan from them. There are exceptions which give you a year-round opportunity to start your plan. You don't have to wait for something to happen to your teeth, to find insurance. Emergency plans are available for when you find yourself caught off guard.
Most policies have a specific waiting period. The time between signing up for a dental plan and being able to benefit from the plan can vary per insurance provider. With dental care plans, you have more than you would for a typical health insurance plan. It could be months before you can go to the dentist and make a claim. A considerable time delay is often not ideal when dealing with urgent dental health matters. If something like that happens, it can lead to you looking for alternatives to pay for immediate health expenses.
This waiting period can also be called an “elimination period.” The duration serves the purpose of weeding out people who want to take advantage of a procedure and then cancel the plan. Predominantly, waiting periods are imposed for serious dental surgery. There are more non-waiting options if you need to get preventive care done. For example, regular cleanings are usually available almost immediately after starting your plan.
Keeping Your Dentist
If you are in the middle of switching dental insurance companies, you may want to know if your current dentist works with your new policy. Make sure to inquire with each dental insurance company. A participating dentist will be able to work accordingly to your dental insurance policy. They would get only part of the benefits of working with insured clients. Talking with your dentist is the best way to find out what insurance companies and plans they work with. If you’ve been a patient of a trustworthy dentist for years, you may want to keep them as your primary care dentist. They can give you updated information about their practice and the policies they work with. Your new dental plan may not require visiting in-network providers for some preventive care services. It all depends on their terms within the policy.
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Types of Plans and Dental Insurance Companies
Choosing an Insurance Company
The company you are going to choose depends on what is available where you live. Companies often tend to offer different plans in different parts of the country. You might not get the same deal everywhere, but there are good options available no matter where you are. Each insurance company has its unique strengths when you start to examine their services more closely.
You can always find advantages and disadvantages to each policy provider. Some offer better costs for family plans, which help you save a substantial amount of money. Others aren't famous for family dental plans but are more competitive in other basic types of insurance. The price range isn't always the same across all kinds of policies offered by a company. A company that provides a low market price for one type of plan can be quite expensive in another category.
Where to Start?
If you are wondering where to start searching, first see what you qualify for along with your requirements. Is it a single-person plan that you need or a dental plan for you and your family? Then examine your weaknesses and strengths with your participating dentist. Ask them if you need dental work soon and if so, how soon? Is it only preventive care that you expect to receive? Will regular cleanings be enough for you? Or are there any possible root canals, orthodontic work, or oral surgery? Consider the options you have and make a sensible decision for everyone involved.
Depending on your dentist, you might be able to get financial assistance. Assistance is helpful in instances when you can't pay your excess balance immediately.
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The Best Options for Dental Insurance Along With Some to Avoid
Delta Dental – All-Around Most Accessible
Delta Dental’s policy is well-explained and available to their customers. The company specializes exclusively in providing dental insurance. Delta Dental is among the most famous dental insurance providers out there for several reasons.
Their full comprehensive coverage is one of the most affordable detailed plans. Their basic and middle tiers of insurance are also the most affordable on the market. Monthly prices start at $16 for basic and go up to $170 for comprehensive coverage. Looking at the comprehensive plans, There are three options presented. The first one is a special deal that costs about $50. The couple's plan is about $102, and the family plan comes in at $171.
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Their basic plans are available are under the name DeltaCare USA. They begin at around $27 for an individual, $52 for a couple and $94 for a family plan. Overall, those basic plans are nearly two times cheaper than the average of plans in that coverage class in every region. The good thing is that Delta Dental covers all areas of the U.S.
The downside to Delta Dental is that the basic coverage plans can’t be paid with monthly fees. Instead, they have to be purchased initially by paying the entirety of the cost. What they cover on every procedure needs to be agreed upon with your dentist before they proceed.
The Delta Dental PPO plan is preferred because of the clarity of payment. PPO stands for Preferred Provider Organization. They provide beneficial client information upfront before you have to visit the dentist. That information comes in the form of the exact percentage of a particular procedure they will cover. Upfront information is a big bonus to Delta Dental, compared to more basic, budget plans. Other dental insurance providers may require you to negotiate your out-of-pocket expenses with your dentist every time you visit. The PPO plan makes sure that you pay the exact listed percentage for the specific covered services.
UnitedHealthOne Dental Insurance – Great if you are happy to use an in-network provider
UnitedHealthOne offers both individual and employer policies in 40 states as well as the District of Columbia. There are six available policies with deductibles starting at $50.
The Dental primary plan covers 50% of your basic care requirement. Basic care includes fillings, root canals, and other forms of basic dental surgery. The 50% cover is provided up to a total of $1000 per year and is only usable after the policyholder has covered the $50 deductible.
Primary Preferred Plan
The Dental primary preferred plan also comes with a $50 deductible. However, the services covered are more varied with both basic and major dental care. The cost for the more varied coverage is that the insurance company will cover only 35% for basic services and 15% for major services of the total amount. For this to apply, the work must be performed by an in-network dentist. Again, an annual maximum of $1000 applies.
Premier Choice Plan
The Dental Premier Choice plan offers a higher annual maximum of $1500. Basic services receive 50% in coverage with major work covered up to 10%. The $50 deductible is combined for both types of services, but an in-network dentist must perform the job.
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Premier Elite Plan
The Dental Premier Elite comes with the same benefits as the Dental Premier Choice Plan. The difference comes with the even higher $2000 annual maximum. The other benefit of this plan is that it is the only plan offered by UnitedHealthOne that lets you use an out-of-network dentist.
Ameritas – A wide variety of options
Ameritas is a company that provides not only insurance plans but also benefits for employees and other financial services. You can find every type of insurance on their website. If you are interested in multiple extensive services, this is a great company. They provide custom solutions for any and every need you may have, but this comes with higher prices. Apart from being a trusted life insurance company, Ameritas also offers dental coverage, hearing, and vision insurance.
They have more than ten dental care insurance offers, all of which vary in price and coverage. Undoubtedly, Ameritas dental services are best when it comes to group and family plans. Their network plans combine the unique characteristics of personalized plans with a reduced price. They also come with advantages like transferring what's left of your coverage over to the next year. A disadvantage is the lower amount of in-network dentists, compared to other dental insurance companies.
The PrimeStar is one of their popular plans, which has a maximum of $2000 of benefits per year, two dental exams and two cleanings per year.
GemStar is the name of the employee group insurance plan. Employees, as well as their families, can benefit from this plan.
Humana – for those who can make use of the discounts
Humana offers dental insurance plans for individuals, groups, and employers. This accessibility comes with the advantage of dental/vision discounts of up to $35 when combining two insurance policies. You can also save on medicine from an in-network pharmacy, receive discounts on hearing exams, and even save on alternative medical treatments. Some examples of the plans Humana offer are:
Preventive Plus Package
The Dental Preventive Plus package, as the name suggests, covers 100% of preventive care such as cleanings and x-rays. Both in and out-network dentists require a $50 per person deductible or $150 per family.
Loyalty Plus Plan
The Dental Loyalty Plus plan rewards you with an increase in the maximum allowance over three years. Loyalty to the plan can give you a maximum amount of $1500. You can use both in and out-of-network providers for your dental care with a one-time deductible of $150 applied per person. A discounted deductible of $450 applies to families.
Savings Plus Plan
The Dental Savings plus is not an insurance plan but rather a discount plan. To be able to receive discounts, there is a $15 enrollment fee that needs to be covered. The cost only needs to be paid once. Discounts are only available through in-network dentists.
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HMO Dental Insurance Plans – Why You Should Avoid Them
Dental HMO plans typically cover a lot of procedures and almost in full. At least this is how it appears on paper. In reality, the services performed under a considerable discount, are paired with other expenses in the course of the treatment. The dentist may perform some extra steps which your coverage may not cover. Another downside is that under a Dental HMO plan you can't pick your dentist, but instead are assigned one. Also, there is no guarantee that the dentist will perform only the covered services. Very often they get switched out for more expensive ones in the process. Such practice is an indicator that you should try to stay away from the high coverage amount packages offered at low prices.
Dental Indemnity Insurance – Suitable for a Group but Comes With Extra Work for the Consumer
Dental indemnity plans work a bit differently from most health plans. You can visit the dentist you prefer and get regular dental check-ups, fillings, preventive services, or other treatments first. After every visit, you have to pay your out-of-pocket expenses and then send a claim form to the dental insurance company. You will receive a specific reimbursement, but you have to wait to receive it. Also, you have to pay the remaining fee if it's bigger than the compensation. The repeated procedure could be stressful and not that useful for most people who want security and affordable dental care. Dental indemnity plans are more suitable for group insurance.
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What Else do I Need to Know?
How do Group Dental Plans Work?
An employer often provides group dental plans. Typically, it's not likely for you to get into one on your own terms. If your job offers dental insurance, this is the type of plan you would be eligible for. Group dental isn't only workplace-related. The AARP can also provide it. The organization is set up for the needs of elders, and that includes providing dental group insurance plans.
Dental Discount Plans vs. Regular Plans
A dental saving or a discount dental plan gives you access to dental providers with a discount. However, just because you are part of a savings plan does not mean that you are insured. A discount plan serves some of the purposes of health insurance but comes in the form of a membership. You have to pay a fee once a year. Doing so will allow you to save up to 60% on procedures included in the plan. The dental savings plan works in a network of dentists, that offer negotiated price reductions for services.
You still need to find out who is an in-network provider to reap the benefits of dental discount plans. Also, choose whether you need it for only yourself or your whole family. This alternative includes some extra bonuses like savings on other types of healthcare and wellness treatments. You won't pay anything more than you already do and still get savings on vision or hearing care.
Benefits of Discount Plans
Dental savings plans are becoming more popular with businesses that want to provide insurance to their employees with benefit plans. The appeal comes from how easy they are to manage and distribute among more people. There aren’t any deductibles and annual caps, unlike an extensive insurance policy. If you are facing trouble with waiting periods and you are in urgent need of affordable dental care, you can start by joining a discount dental plan. It is another way to cover additional expenses if your already existing insurance doesn't include a procedure. For instance, some cosmetic services like teeth whitening wouldn't be a part of a basic dental insurance plan. Despite this, you can get access to teeth whitening with a reduced price through a dental savings plan.
Medicare and Dental Insurance
The federal health insurance program doesn’t typically provide dental care insurance options or any benefits. There are some exceptions for more severe and emergency-related instances. Partial coverage can be issued when a dental procedure is considered medically necessary before performing other health treatments.
Having More Than One Dental Plan
You can have multiple sources of dental care benefits without spending an unnecessary amount of funds every month. There are options for everyone, and you can combine more traditional forms of insurance with savings plans to get the best value. The dental health industry is costly, but there is a growing number of affordable offers. Group plans or family plans are great, and an individual with both could save a substantial amount of money. The way it works with two plans is simple. A company group plan is the primary source of coverage for a dentist visit. Then any remaining cost is covered by a secondary policy.
Canceling a Dental Care Insurance Plan
Dental care benefits are accessed through a separate insurance plan, but they can also be part of a comprehensive health plan. It's not hard to cancel your dental insurance and can sometimes be beneficial. In most cases, you have to stop paying the monthly fees. It's a bit different of a process then when you are signed up for a health plan. You have to consider the Open Enrollment Period. In that period, it's allowed for you to opt-out of receiving dental benefits. You could also switch your health plan. You can qualify for the Special Enrollment Period due to certain life events.
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Dental insurance companies can make your quality of life better. However, if you don’t do your research and pick a suitable plan, you’ll be spending a lot more on unexpected dental costs. You will also have to prepare for possible changes. Starting a new plan, while going to your old dentist, might not be possible anymore. Be open to the dental professionals who are now available to you. If you don't want to make a significant change with who you trust, aim for more extensive network providers. Opt for a basic plan if you wish to get a good deal on your biannual cleanings and related preventive care. This is especially important if your employer doesn't cover you.
If you have long-standing issues like gum disease or will need dental implants soon, the basic plans won’t cover enough cost. For this reason, you will have to go for a more premium option.
When selecting a group plan for an employer, take into consideration the people you will be purchasing for and try to compare with businesses like yours.
The most valuable thing to do is invest in what's vital for you and your family while considering your dentist's predictions and suggestions.
Do you have a preferred dental insurance company? Which one is your personal choice, and why?