Dental plans are run very much like a club you’d join. You pay a yearly membership fee and receive access to the benefits provided by the plan (in this case, discounted dental fees). Pretty simple, right? But what if you already have dental insurance or are shopping around for a service? How do you know if dental plans trump other options out there?
In truth, there are instances when traditional dental insurance might be a better move. For example, if your company pays for your dental insurance or if you rarely visit the dentist, insurance will work out cheaper for you. On the other hand, if you’re the one paying for your dental visits, and you’ll be cozying up to that squeaky plastic-covered chair periodically, then a dental plan is probably your best option. To help you make a more informed decision, here are 5 reasons why you should consider a dental plan.
Dental Plan Advantage #1: Save Money
To begin with, annual fees range anywhere from $100 to $375 for a typical dental plan. Premiums for dental insurance will run on average from $250-$400. These seem pretty comparable until you start factoring in the co-pay, deductibles, and actual procedural costs. For most insurance plans, you’ll have to pay a considerable deductible before the coverage starts, making dental visits difficult financially. With dental plans, there are no deductibles. Coverage starts the minute you need it.
Plus, if you have poor dental health, complicated procedures, or other dental issues, you are going to pay a higher premium than someone with great dental health. This increases the costs of your insurance substantially. Dental plan rates are flat across the board, everyone pays the same thing.
What’s more, dental plans statistically save plan holders up to 60% on their dental bills. This is because the dentists offer discounted prices for their procedures to plan members and because dental plans come with no deductibles.
Dental Plan Advantage #2: No Caps or Limitations
You just found out that your son needs a root canal...for the third time this year. With traditional dental insurance, once you go over the yearly cap, you are not covered for the rest of the year. That means if little Timmy had a rough dental year, you might be paying a heck of a lot out of pocket. Let’s put it in these terms:
A typical porcelain veneer (tooth replacement or crown) can cost as much as $3,000. The average insurance annual limit is $1,000-$2,000. So, if you need a tooth replaced, you’ve already gone beyond your annual limit with just this single tooth (and that’s not even calculating the other expenses for the procedure like x-rays).
Dental savings plans have no caps on how much you can save. That’s because these plans work on a discounted rate basis with the dentists. So, no matter how many fillings, root canals, cleanings, and other procedures you need, you’ll always get the discounted price. This is possibly the biggest benefit of dental plans, and if you’re covering more than one person, it’s a surefire way to save hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars.
Finally, dental insurance often limits the number of procedures you can have covered per year. For example, you might have a limit of 2 teeth cleanings per year. While this is the basic cleaning cycle for teeth, lots of folks want to have their teeth cleaned more often. If you have a dental plan, you can get your teeth cleaned for the same price as often as you want. If you have dental insurance, you’re stuck with their limitations.
Dental Plan Advantage #3: No Waiting
There are few things more agonizing than tooth problems. Call it luck, divine intervention, cosmic justice, or whatever you want, there’s a reason these issues usually happen more to kids. Adults just couldn’t take the pain!
So, when you do have a tooth issue, the last thing you want to hear is “We can cover your dental procedure in 2 months from Tuesday.” One of the biggest benefits of dental savings plans is that there is no waiting period. Coverage happens right away, sometimes as soon as the next day after you sign up. You don’t have to wait till you hit a certain deductible amount, and you don’t have to wait in between visits to have that coverage working. That throbbing pain can be dealt with immediately, and you can save your vacation days for a real vacation.
What’s more, insurance plans have caveats to their coverage. Often, you’ll need to have a certain amount of time between visits if you want your insurance to pay for it. So, you could conceivably be waiting months to finish a procedure just because you have to wait for the insurance coverage to kick in. Dental insurance can have a waiting period of up to 18 months for specific dental procedure coverage. That’s an entire year and a half that you’ll have to wait for your coverage to start working!
Dental Plan Advantage #4: No Health Restrictions
Another reason you may prefer dental savings plans over insurance is because of the lack of health restrictions. Many dental insurance providers will not cover consumers with certain health issues including pre-existing conditions. Conversely, dental plans hold no such restrictions. Anyone can qualify for a dental plan and will receive coverage for any and all procedures according to their plans.
Dental Plan Advantage #5: Cosmetic Dentistry Coverage
Cosmetic dentistry doesn’t sound like something that should factor into your equation, but don’t let the name deceive you. Cosmetic dentistry actually covers a huge range of important procedures including things like:
So, if your kid needs braces or if one of your major teeth falls out and you need a bridge, that’s not exactly the same as just wanting a pearly white smile you can flash at everyone (though if you do, that’s covered too).
Dental insurance does not cover cosmetic dentistry as a policy. So, if you need or want any of these types of dental procedures, you’re going to have to pay out of pocket. Dental discount plans do cover cosmetic dentistry, but you should always check with the provider to see exactly what’s covered and what’s not. Depending on the plan you choose, it can cover braces, dental implants, veneers, teeth whitening, and other treatments that fall into the cosmetic dentistry category.
Reliable, Economical, and Easier
There are many dental plans available through reliable healthcare providers that you may already be familiar with. Big names like DentalPlans.com, Aetna, Careington, and CVSiSave all offer dental plans that can save you money and make your life easier when it comes to dental coverage. Check out some of the best dental plan brands available today, and see how much you can save on dental procedures this year.