Are you overwhelmed and not sure how to choose dental insurance? A quality dental plan can help you and your family control treatment costs and get the care you need, but you need to make sure you select the right one. Below we’ve highlighted several important facts you should know about dental insurance before you buy.
The first mistake a person can make when shopping for dental insurance is to assume it is the same as health insurance. Unfortunately, you don’t quite get the same amount of coverage for a dental procedure as you would a medical procedure. But there is good news, dental insurance is much less expensive than health coverage. This said, you’ll want to know how dental insurance works before you shop for the right coverage. Most regular procedures, like cleanings, checkups, and x-rays, are 100% covered by a standard plan. Procedures outside of normal cleanings like filings will be covered up to a certain percentage, but not 100%. If you need more substantial dental work like crowns, bridges, or root canals, you can plan on a lower percentage of coverage vs. more routine care items like filings. So don’t expect to simply meet your deductible and have everything else covered afterward with dental insurance.
Most patients access dental insurance through a group plan, and many employers offer this as part of their benefits package. Other group plans like AARP and Medicaid are only open to certain people but offer the same group benefits. You may find group policies to be more affordable and to have superior benefits compared to individual insurance just for yourself and/or your family. But you’ll also be subject to certain restrictions like in-network restrictions. If you purchase an individual plan instead, you may see a slightly higher cost, but you’ll be able to pick the right plan for your needs and find one that works with your preferred dentist. Speaking of, you’ll want to do a check to see if your dentist is in network.
The easiest way is to see if your dentist is in network is to simply reach out to the administrative staff and ask questions to see if a certain insurance works with your dentist. The front desk staff deals with insurance claims every day, and they’re likely well-versed in what is in network and what plans do not offer much coverage in that particular office. If you don’t have a preferred dentist, your options are more open. But don’t simply select the closest dentist on your insurance providers network page. You’ll want to do your research and know you’ve selected a top rated dentist with a proven track record.
Certain procedures, namely any orthodontia or cosmetic treatments, will not be covered by dental insurance. Dental insurers consider these procedures to be elective as they are not critically important for the health of your teeth. If you’re worried about paying for longer term treatments like orthodontics, ask your dentist about payment plans for these procedures.
So you realize that you need substantial dental work. Why not just purchase dental insurance today and get benefits on those big procedures tomorrow? Well dental insurers are wise to this approach, which is why they place waiting period limits on certain coverage options. These may last six months to a year, so make sure you check limits and obtain coverage well before you schedule that substantial procedure. Smaller claims like cleanings, x-rays, and checkups will be covered right at the start of a policy, so you don’t have to worry about those items.
Ensure success with your dental insurance claims by doing two critical things. First read your policy, that’s right all of your policy, to understand what it covers and what limits are contained within the policy. If you don’t understand something, there is no harm in contacting the company with questions. Make sure you do this before and after you buy coverage just to be sure. Secondly, stay in communication with your dentist and their staff about your new policy. Know what is covered and at what percentage before you get treatment, and don’t be afraid to schedule treatment for a later date if things aren’t clear. Most times your dentist can run your insurance and provide estimates before you agree to any procedures. For more questions on how to choose dental insurance for you, contact Grace & Leedy Family Dentistry.