Dental Plan Basics: Knowing Which Plan to Choose
Which Dental Plan Do You Need?
For most consumers in the United States, dental insurance is an integral part of a well-balanced health care plan. Dental plans usually rank second only to medical insurance. But with all the dental plans are available today, how can you know which one will be the best for you and your family?
There are many questions to ask yourself before choosing a plan, such as:
- What type of routine dental care does the plan cover?
- What major dental care/services does the plan cover?
- Does the plan cover diagnostic and preventive services?
- What limitations will the policy place on pre-existing conditions, such as cracked/broken teeth or existing prostheses?
- Is there a waiting period before major dental treatments?
- Will I have a choice of treatment, or does the plan require the least expensive treatment?
- And so many more!
If you are looking for the right dental plan but unsure where to begin, browse through our guide of helpful dental plan basics. You don’t have to be an insurance expert to make an informed and confident decision!
1. Identify Your Needs
Your age and family history play a significant role in the type of oral health challenges you and your family may face.
Of all the age groups, people that fall within this range typically experience the fewest oral health issues. Many people find that taking a preventive approach to their oral health is sufficient for meeting their individual needs. Therefore, they choose a dental plan that covers basic cleanings and regular checkups
This age group is also most likely to have a family or to consider starting one soon. If you have children, you will benefit from a plan that helps children learn healthy oral habits.
In mid-life, restorative operations, such as root canals, replacement fillings, and crowns become more necessary. To get the most from your dental plan, consider choosing a plan that will simplify the management of your oral healthcare. It should provide access to a network of expert resources and offer choices to help address any oral health complications.
Also, compare plans and consider those that offer lower deductibles and higher annual maximums. This will help ensure you receive the very best care available.
As you near retirement, you are more likely than ever to experience more serious and/or chronic conditions. The plan you choose should offer assistance with managing the expenses associated with more problematic conditions, such as gum disease and decay. Dry mouth associated with medications and some chronic conditions is another common issue among people in this age group.
2. Know Your Options
Once you’ve identified your needs, find out what dental plans are available in your area. Don’t pick the first policy you come across. Take the time to compare several dental policies. This will help you get the best value for your money. You’ll also have the assurance of knowing you will receive the best possible care.
3. Plan Evaluation
There are many factors that will affect which dental plan you choose, such as:
Never sign on with a carrier until you have verified all basic dental services the plan will cover. This should include: regular 6-month cleanings, gum disease, x-rays, in-depth checkups, and tooth decay treatments. The latter includes root canals, tooth scaling, and dental fillings.
Typically, dentists who partake in networks accept fees that fall substantially below retail. Also, the larger the network, the more likely it is your dentist is a participant.
Base your decision on more than just the expected monthly premium. A quality plan should also encourage customers to maintain their oral health care. It should encourage preventative care with basic cleanings and checkups. These practices help to reduce the long-term cost of dental services. In addition, they could have a substantial long-term impact on your overall health and related health care fees.
Costs to consider:
- Monthly premium – the cost you will pay monthly for your insurance.
- Deductible – most insured individuals will be required to meet their minimum deductible each year before their insurance will begin to cover the cost of their dental care. On average, annual deductibles range from $25-$50 per covered individual.
- Maximum annual limit – most carriers cap the amount of possible reimbursement in a year. This amount is usually $1,000-$1,500 per year.
As a customer, you need to feel confident the plan will take care of you. The best way to validate a carrier’s reputation is to research certain service statistics. This could include how quickly they answer their telephones, how quickly they pay claims, and their efficiency at solving customer problems.
The U.S. Surgeon General’s office acknowledges a link between periodontal disease and the health care fees for certain medical conditions. If you have health conditions that call for additional dental care, many carriers can add certain benefits to your plan for little to no increase in premium. This could apply to pregnant women and/or individuals who have diabetes, weakened immune systems, cardiac issues, a high risk of oral cancer, and several other systemic syndromes.
4. Make Your Family’s Oral Health a Priority
Regardless of which dental insurance carrier you choose, make your family’s oral health a top priority. It is a choice you will never regret.
People with dental coverage tend to maintain better lifelong dental habits than those without insurance. For example, they brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, and make regular visits to the dentist. Children who learn healthy dental habits at an early age are much more likely to maintain these habits throughout the course of their adult life.