In 2015, more and more medical reports started to emerge about the importance of oral health on a person’s general health. In fact, poor oral hygiene was tied to a number of health risks, including cardiovascular conditions and problems with pregnancy. However, scientists also released reports about genetic issues that can predispose certain people to developing more plaque, playing into a higher likelihood that a patient will develop gingivitis. These types of patients require more frequent monitoring through no fault of their own. Meanwhile, holistic health enthusiasts became entranced by the alleged health benefits of oil pulling, an Ayurvedic remedy in which people swish oils in their mouths.
In your efforts to save money and also keep your current dentist, have you ever had a conversation like the following:
You: Hi, I just have a quick question. Do you accept Delta Dental insurance plans…?
Your dentist’s receptionist: Yes we do.
You: Okay, thanks!
Millions of people have that exact same conversation, about Delta Dental or any number of plans. Like you, they probably think it means they’re going to be able to keep their current dentist and also pay the lowest rates.
However, if that’s your goal, you need to ask a different question.
The Question You Should Really Be Asking
So, if you want to keep your dentist and save money on dental care, what’s the question you should really be asking? And whom should you ask?
The best way to learn if you can keep your dentist and pay less is to ask both your dentist and the plan carrier or provider. And the question to ask is this: Is the dentist under contract as part of the specific dental insurance plan’s preferred provider network?
We need to pay close attention to many details when it comes to insurance products. Dental insurance is no different. Some of the most common issues we hear from people have to do with the difference between in and out of network dental. How do the costs compare? Can I keep my own dentist?
And why not? Most people love their dentists. We want to do whatever it takes to remain with them if possible. So, for instance, folks will shop for dental insurance and, before buying a plan, call to ask if their dentist “accepts” the plan.
Alert: This is when paying close attention to the details can make a big difference.
The truth is, dentists may accept any number of dental plans. But that doesn’t mean they are in the plans’ preferred provider groups. Being a preferred provider makes a dentist part of a plan’s official network of dentists. That’s where the term “in network” comes from. And being in network or in a plan’s preferred provider pool is the real key to helping you save money.
Why all this confusion over network dental insurance?
Dentists want to keep you and your teeth healthy. However, they tend to leave the money saving part to you and your insurance provider. After all, that’s why you have a dental plan – to help you pay. Of course, dentists are running a business, as well, and contracting to be included in various carriers’ preferred provider pools is one of the ways they attract new patients and keep established ones happy.
…being in network or in a plan’s preferred provider pool is the real key to helping you save money.
Getting into the network requires your dentist to sign a contract with the plan provider. They agree to charge the plan’s lower rates for their dental work. Your dentist cannot be a part of every provider’s network. Like you, they have to choose carefully which plans to sign contracts with based on many, sometimes conflicting, considerations.
When you ask the dentist or her receptionist if they “accept” a dental plan, they answer you in an honest and efficient way. They don’t waste time probing to see whether you really understand the question you’ve asked. But the truth is, you haven’t really asked whether using a certain plan will help you remain under their care and also save some money on dental work. That is not the question they hear.
Until they’ve signed a contract to join the plan’s preferred provider network, they may in fact accept the plan but still have every right to charge higher rates than an in-network dentist would charge for the work they do. And when they do, you, not the plan, will have to pay the difference in cost.
Shop Your Dental Options Like a Pro
It’s a classic case of the heart vs. the head or emotions vs. logic. No one wants to pay more than needed for dental care. And no one wants to leave the dentist they’ve grown to know and trust just to save a few dollars.
So remember, the question to ask is this: Is the dentist under contract as part of the specific dental insurance plan’s preferred provider network? Be sure you ask your dentist and the plan’s carrier.
It’s a clear and unambiguous question. A simple yes or no will do. And, with confirmation of “in network” status from both your dentist and the plan carrier, you’ll be free to move forward with your dental work with confidence and then get on with something a little more interesting.
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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, usually ranking second only to medical insurance. But with all the dental plans that are available today, how can you know which one will be the best for you and the needs of your family?
There are many questions to ask yourself before choosing a plan, such as:
- What type of routine dental care will be covered?
- What major dental care/services are covered?
- 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 is the least expensive treatment required?
- And so many more!
If you’ve found yourself on the hunt for the right dental plan but are 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 be faced with.
Of all the age groups, people that fall within this range typically experience the fewest oral health issues. Many people find that taking a preventative approach to their oral health by choosing an elemental dental plan that covers basic cleanings and regular checkups is sufficient for meeting their individual needs.
This age group is also the likeliest to have a family or to consider starting one in the near future. If you have children, you will benefit from a plan that encourages children to learn healthy oral habits from a young age.
At this middle stage in life, restorative operations, such as root canals, replacement fillings, and crowns become more necessary. To get the most out of your dental insurance, consider choosing a plan that will simplify the management of your oral healthcare by providing you with access to a network of expert resources and offering choices to help conquer any oral health complications. Also, compare plans and consider those that offer lower deductibles and higher annual maximums to ensure you receive the very best care available.
As you reach the age of retirement, you are more likely than ever to experience more serious and/or chronic conditions. The plan you ultimately 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. Now is the time to find out precisely what those plans cover, and to gain a clear understanding of each policy’s terms. Don’t pick the first policy you come across. By taking the time to compare several dental policies, you can get the best value for your money and 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 will be covered under your plan. This should include: regular 6-month cleanings, gum disease, x-rays, in-depth checkups, and tooth decay treatments to include 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.
Your decision should be based on more than just the expected monthly premium. A quality plan should also encourage customers to maintain their oral health care by encouraging preventative care to include basic cleanings and checkups. These practices help to reduce the long-term cost of dental services and could also possibly have a substantial long-term impact on your overall health and associated 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 y ear before their insurance will begin to cover the cost of their dental care. On average, annual deductibles range from $25-$50 per covered individual, but varied policy to policy.
- 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 you’ll be taken care of after signing your name to a specific plan. The best way to validate a carrier’s reputation is to research certain service statistics. This could include the urgency in which they answer their telephones, how quickly their claims get paid, 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 suffer from health conditions that may benefit from having access to additional oral health care, many insurance 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 ultimately decide on, making your family’s oral health a top priority is a choice you will never regret. People with dental coverage tend to maintain better lifelong dental habits than those without insurance, such as brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, regular daily flossing, and 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.
Making a New Year Resolution to Prioritize Healthy Gums and Teeth
With such an increased focus upon oral health, it’s no wonder that many people are making it a New Year resolution to achieve a healthy smile this year. Whether you were born with dazzling teeth or need some help in that department, regular trips to the dentist are the best way to ensure that your New Year resolution is actually a success this year.
To guarantee that this year start off on the right foot, researching your dental insurance options is an excellent idea. Dentalinsurance.com offers the right plan, at the right price, and you can get it right now.
Scheduling Regular Cleanings and Necessary Procedures Will Prevent Future Problems
When it come to maintaining dental health, the most effective strategy is to see your dentist regularly. Although a cleaning is recommended every six months or so, everyone’s mouth is different. Depending upon your dental history and the condition of your teeth, your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings.
There’s never been a better time to start exploring what types of dental insurance benefits are available to you. Life can toss all sorts of curve balls your way, which is why insurance will offer you some peace of mind. Whether it’s a chipped tooth from eating corn nuts or a sudden need for a root canal, all sorts of unexpected happenings can occur when it comes to your smile. Making sure that your insurance is taken care of will ease the bite from any unexpected dental expenses that may come your way.
Starting the New Year off with a Sensational Smile
Although it has been said frequently, it cannot be overstated: your smile is one of the very first things that people notice about your physical appearance. This new year provides an excellent opportunity to review how much attention you’ve been giving to your overall physical health, especially your gums. If you’re like most people, then it’s probably time to step up your game. Dental health can fall by the wayside sometimes, which is why it’s important to take action immediately.
As the months pass by, it becomes easier to let your dental health slip by for some more time. Before you know it, another year will have passed by and you’ll be frustrated that you didn’t research your dental care options earlier. Studies have shown that the most effective way to tackle a goal is to take some kind of action as soon as possible. Whether it’s talking to a friend about their insurance or getting online and looking up dental offices near you, resolve to take at least one small step towards finally putting your dental health in order. One year from now, you will be thrilled that you did.