Finding the Right Dental Plan
When selecting a dental insurance plan, people should consider several factors to find a plan that best suits their needs. The first step to finding the right dental plan involves evaluating needs. Young, single adults with good dental health and no family history of oral problems will have different dental insurance needs than a family with a parent who has a family history of gum disease. The likelihood of more frequent visits to the dentist and more extensive treatments indicates the need for a more comprehensive dental insurance policy. Making a generalized list of dental and oral health needs can serve as a good benchmark for evaluating policies and anticipating overall costs.
It is also important to understand the different types of dental insurance plans since each will have varying out-of-pocket costs, benefits, deductibles, and more. Typically dental plans are divided into Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO), Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO), discount dental plans (DDP), and Managed Fee-for-Service Plans. Once people determine the available plans, they should also consider their budget and the covered procedures, waiting periods, and annual limits. Taking the time to evaluate dental needs, budget, and anticipated level of care can make choosing the right dental plan easier.
Oral health plays an important role in overall health. Like healthcare, dental care can be costly, particularly with procedures required beyond the bi-annual check-up. Dental insurance provides peace of mind that procedures will be covered without causing financial hardship.
Everyone should consider dental insurance. Dental insurance can help lower the costs of maintaining a healthy mouth. It can help everyone by preventing oral health problems before they start.
A PPO plan is regular indemnity insurance combined with a network of dentists under contract with the insurance company to deliver services for set fees. Patients with PPOs must select a dentist from a network of preferred dental providers. Non-contracted dentists who are not in the insurance network may have higher or lower fees than the plan allows.
A DHMO plan is a type of "managed care" insurance. With DMHOs, a network of qualified dentists provides comprehensive and affordable care for dental patients. Patients choose a dentist from the network and pay a low monthly premium to receive services at little or no cost. Some services may require a copayment.
Discount dental plans (DDPs) are not traditional insurance plans. Patients pay the cost of treatment at the contracted rate determined by the plan. No dental claim forms are filed after receiving services. Members of DDPs make monthly or annual payments and may receive unlimited dental care from dentists who participate in the dental network, at discount prices based on a set fee schedule.
You should consider many factors when choosing a dental plan. Examine each member of your family's coverage needs and evaluate which plan(s) offer financial feasibility. Look at all costs, including premiums, deductibles, and copays. Carefully read the plan’s coverage for services to ensure your desired level of care.
You should consider many factors when shopping for the right dental insurance plan. First, evaluate your individual and family needs and take a look at your budget. Examine the different kinds of dental plans available in your area and their coverage. Consider looking at the network size; dentists included in the network, and applicable waiting times and restrictions.
Dental care influences not only oral health but also overall physical health. Dental insurance can reduce the financial burden of having dental care, including basic and routine costs such as cleanings and exams. Dental insurance also makes minor and major procedures more affordable, so you do not delay much-needed treatment.
It is possible, but it is likely that one of your plans will be considered your primary plan. Your primary plan will pay toward your dental care first, while any additional plans will pay the remaining portion. Together, the plans cannot pay more than 100% of the treatment cost.
Dental insurance plans are similar to health insurance plans in that they are typically categorized as either Indemnity (such as HMO plans) or managed-care plans (such as PPO plans). The major differences lie in the patient's choice of dental care providers, out-of-pocket costs, and how expenses are paid. While Indemnity plans offer patients a wider range of providers, they also only reimburse the patient for their share of the costs for covered services.