Discount dental plans (DDPs) help you to lower the cost of dental care. They are sometimes known as discount dental cards. A DDP lets you make payments by the month or by the year for all the dental work you need. The cost of the work is based on a discounted fee schedule. Work is provided by dentists who take part in a set group of dentists.
DDPs are not the same as ordinary dental insurance. They appeal most to people who do not have insurance or who have a plan that does not cover certain types of work. People who have a DDP pay the lower fees to the dentist, not to the plan. The DDP provider is uninvolved in the transaction and makes no reimbursements.
Monthly or annual payments for DDP are most often a fraction of the cost of dental insurance. Also, the cost of a DDP is small compared to what plan members could save when they use the plan.
DDPs and You: What to Consider
For people who don’t have a dental plan, DDPs can be a good dental care option. With a DDP, you could save up to 60% off the cost of dental work.
Because you can use DDPs for work that is not yet covered by other plans, they are a great choice if you have a dental plan but have not yet met its waiting periods for certain types of work. What’s more, DDPs are great for people with a dental emergency since many of them can take effect within two business days.
As with all insurance types, it is a good idea to look into a DDPs fine print. For instance, DDP terms most often state that you must pay the cost of the work in full, up front. So always talk to your dentist first about the costs for work and your payment options.
In a case where a lump sum payment for work would be too costly, a DDP may not be the best choice. On the other hand, if you can’t afford to pay in full, you may be able to set up a payment plan with your dentist.
Also, if you are thinking about a DDP, try to find out if the cost of the work you need can be done at the DDP rate by the dentist you have in mind for as long as you are on the plan.
Summary of DDP Challenges and Strengths
- Because you will have to pay for your dental care, be sure you know your DDP’s terms
- In cases where a lump sum payment for work would be too much for you to pay, a DDP may not be the best choice
- Dentists may choose to leave the DDP, so there is no guarantee they will accept it all the way through your membership
- Helps to keep the cost of dental care down, and gives you a cost-effective choice if you have no dental insurance
- You can save up to 60% compared to having no dental plan
- Can be used for work not yet covered by other plans
- Allows you to make payments, by the month or by the year, that are most often a fraction of the cost of ordinary plans
- Good if you do not have insurance coverage or it’s inadequate for your needs
- DDPs can take effect within two business days
- Allows for unlimited work based on a discounted fee schedule
- The cost is small in light of the likely savings
Shop for Dental Discount Plans
DentalInsurance.com offers discount dental plans from the following carriers: