Dental insurance can help you keep your teeth healthy by allowing you to have regular dental exams and any procedures needed to keep your oral health in top condition. Whether you have dental insurance or are looking to purchase it, understanding how dental plans work can be confusing. There are various types of dental insurance plans, and you should understand how your plan works and what it covers before you make an appointment for a dental visit.
Many dental plans have a deductible. This means that you must pay for dental costs yourself up to the amount of the deductible. You pay this in addition to the monthly cost of the plan. The deductible usually resets at the beginning of the year.
Direct reimbursement plans pay a percentage of the cost of each dental visit. Usually you pay the entire bill, and then you are reimbursed for a percentage of it by the insurance company.
Some dental insurance plans allow you to choose a dentist from a list of dentists they provide. Other plans let you see any dentist you choose. If you are planning to buy dental insurance, it is important to consider this, especially if you already have a dentist you want to continue seeing.
Dental plans have limitations on what they cover, but will usually cover routine dental care and necessary dental treatments. Cosmetic treatments like veneers or teeth whitening are usually not covered by dental insurance. There can also be limits on the dollar amount a plan will cover each year.
If you already have dental insurance that you pay for or get through your employer, you should find out who to contact for any questions you may have about what your plan covers. You can be prepared for the costs you have to personally pay for your dental office visits by researching ahead of time to find out exactly what your dental plan will pay and what you have pay.
If you are shopping for a dental insurance plan, there are several things you should keep in mind:
Some plans will let you see any dentists, while other limit your choice of dentists.
With some plans, dentists are required to choose the least expensive treatment methods. Other plans allow the dentist and the patient full power to choose the best treatment options.
Consider whether the plan allows referrals to specialists such as oral surgeons or orthodontists.
Usually plans with higher monthly premiums have lower deductibles, and vice versa. Always compare plans to see what deductibles, monthly premiums and co-pays you will be required to pay.
Remember that your dentist cannot counsel you or answer questions about dental insurance. Any questions you have about dental insurance should be directed to the insurance company itself or to your employee benefits department if you have dental insurance through your job. A new smile could be closer than you think!