Dental Insurance If you are concerned about dental costs, then you probably have considered either dental insurance or a dental discount plan. Dental insurance comes with copays, deductibles, waiting periods for major dental work, and often, a specified yearly maximum that the plan will pay. If you are considering dental insurance you will want to be sure you understand how your plan works before you purchase, so you will be satisfied when it comes time to pay your portion of your bill. The premiums for dental insurance will be higher than they will be for a dental discount plan as well. Of course, the advantages of buying dental insurance is that, according to the policy, it will actually pay a portion of your bill, and will often provide for very cheap or reduced yearly checkups, cleanings, and x rays.
Types of Dental Insurance The dental insurance plans that I see generally come in three flavors: network HMO, network PPO, indemnity, and specified benefit plan.
Dental PPO and HMO Plans A network HMO dental plan works much like a health insurance HMO. You must see the network doctors to claim benefits. The network PPO plan is much like a health insurance PPO, so you get the best benefits by seeing the dentists in the network, but you will still be covered at a lower level if you see dentists outside of the network. In either case, dentists have agreed to charge the price that the network has specified for certain types of work, so these types of plans may save you the most money if you are comfortable with the network dentists.
Dental Indemnity Plans The second type of dental insurance is an indemnity plan, and usually lets you pick any qualified dentist. An indemnity plan generally has deductibles, yearly limits, and often comes with a waiting period for major work. You will have freedom to chose your dentist, which will help if you are not close to any network dentists, but will generally have to shoulder more out of pocket costs yourself. That is because the insurance company cannot control costs, except indirectly, by limiting what they will cover for you. When you use a plan like this, it is important to understand it, and to make sure you know what your portion of the bill is up front.
Dental Specified Benefit Plans The third type of plan is a specified benefit plan, and it often comes without a deductible. The plan will start paying on the first dollar, but will specify a limit of how much it will pay per procedure. Like the other plans, it may come with waiting periods, yearly limits, and benefits for normal checkups, teeth cleanings and x rays.
Dental Discount Plans A dental discount plan is different because it is not actually insurance. They also usually come with a network of dentists that agree to give discounts for procedures. Many networks are run by the same companies that actually provide insurance. However, the plan will not actually pay part of your bill, but make sure you can obtain services at sharply reduced negotiated prices. Many do come with very cheap , or even free, periodic checkups, x-rays, and teeth cleaning. This is a good way for dentists to attract patients who may need more serious work in the future. Dental discount plans will be much cheaper than dental insurance plans. You will often pay for a year’s membership in a dental discount plan what one month in a dental insurance plan would cost!
Dental discount plans are worth considering for many consumers. When many clients actually sit down and consider their portion of the bill with a dental insurance plan, plus the premiums, they spend less with the lower premiums and discounts of a dental discount plan. Other clients do have dental insurance, either through work or a private plan. However, the plan does have deductibles they must pay before they are covered, and may have a yearly limit and waiting periods for serious work. They find that adding a very small payment for a discount plan saves them money in the long run because it takes a large bite out of their payments!
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