Finding Dental Care – Understanding Dental Insurance vs Discount Dental Plans

Are you having trouble finding dental care that’s affordable? Many people in the United States have this problem and it’s one of the main reasons why 70% of American families have no dental care plan at all.

Most people have a tendency to avoid the issue until a problem arises such as a broken tooth, visible cavity or they end up with pain in their mouth, which sometimes will even lead to an emergency room visit.

Your best bet for finding dental care that’s affordable is by planning ahead for problems before they become a major issue that can be very expensive. Let’s take a look at the two most popular dental plan options available.

#1. Dental Insurance

Insurance is what most people think of when they’re in need of protection against a potential problem or hazard. This only natural considering the fact that most people already pay for car insurance, as well as health, homeowners and, well, you get the picture, but is dental insurance the best option for oral health care? Let’s find out.

Most dental insurance policies are actually quite expensive. There are some being advertised in different locations online that are less than $10.00 per month, however, you really need to look at what these policies actually cover before you jump into a situation that may result in you being very discouraged down the road. Always read what a policy covers and how much it will pay each year for both individual and family policies, whichever applies to you. Look at what items or procedures are excluded from coverage.

One of the biggest downfalls of dental insurance is the fact that these policies do not cover pre-existing conditions. “Pre-existing” meaning any problems that you already had at the time that you bought the policy. This means that if you’ve waited until you have a problem to buy insurance then you’ll be paying 100% of the costs yourself because your policy will not cover you. This is true in all types of insurance coverage, not just dental. If you have a dent in the bumper of the car you just bought do you think the insurance company will pay for it? Not a chance. Dental insurance is no different.

Most companies will begin to cover pre-existing conditions after a mandatory waiting period of one year, but even then you’ll still have to pay the majority of the costs. They’ll begin to pay progressively, which means that they may start out by covering 10% the second year and then increase the coverage on your prior existing issues to 25% after the second year and so on.

Three years ago I spoke to another agent about dental insurance and she told me honestly that she couldn’t recommend dental insurance anymore because of the high cost and lack of coverage. What she did recommend brings me to our second type of dental plan available.

#2. Discount Dental Plans

Unlike insurance, discount dental plans have no restrictions on pre-existing conditions. These plans simply offer substantial discounts on routine dental care, such as check-ups, cleanings, x-rays, etc. and also on major dental care, such as root canals, dentures, braces and more.

You must see a provider that’s within the network of the dental plan. Most larger discount plan networks have providers exceeding 100,000 dentists and dental specialists nationwide so finding a participating dentist usually isn’t an issue. Here is how these plans work.

You simply find a participating dentist in your area, after which, you join the discount plan. Membership fees average under $100 annually for individuals and around $150 for families. Once you’ve joined you’ll have a short wait of 1-3 days, after which, you can start seeing your new dentist. Actually, you’re not restricted to one dentist. You can visit any provider within the network of the plan, in any state. This means that if you visit a dentist one time and don’t feel comfortable with them, you simply make an appointment with a different one next time. You don’t have to ask permission. You can also use the plan while you travel, if needed. Simply locate a participating provider in the area you’re in and make an appointment.

The only drawback to discount dental plans is that you must pay for your visit in full at the time of your appointment. However, as long as you’re prepared for it this shouldn’t be an issue. After all, if you need to see a dentist right away and insurance won’t cover you, you’d be paying for 100% of the cost without the plan.

If finding dental care has been a problem for you in the past, hopefully, understanding these two options will help you to make an informed decision when you’re finally ready to buy a dental plan.

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