Note: Writer possesses three years of experience creating web content and other marketing materials for a national dental plan and insurance provider.
Fact: Proper dental care is vital for children and adults. Anyone who has dealt with the anguish of a toothache can attest to the necessity of proper preventative and clinical care. Yet with the cost of dental care soaring to astronomical levels, individuals and families are searching for ways to lower the cost of this all-important treatment. Both traditional dental insurance and dental plans can offer these savings.
Traditional dental insurance typically comes through employers or large groups although it can be purchased individually. One pays a premium, usually monthly, and the patient or provider is reimbursed for certain procedures. You may be required to fill out a claim form, or the provider may do it for you. Most insurance plans have limitations and yearly caps. Some limit providers, require waiting periods, have exclusions and more. They are financially beneficial for some, but not for others.
There are a variety of different types of dental insurance plans. When one enrolls in a PPO plan, they will pay less when they utilize a preferred network provider although they may still get out-of-network benefits. Other insurance plans require the use of specific providers. You may pay a percentage or a certain amount for the procedures, subject to the terms of service. Plans differ in covered services and discounts.
An alternative to traditional dental insurance is a dental discount plan. In a dental discount plan the individual or family pays a flat rate to be part of the plan. Typically this is paid in a yearly increment and is less than one would pay for dental insurance. In a dental discount plan, the individual or family will be able to visit certain providers and receive substantial discounts on an array of procedures. The savings can be significant.
Patients are required to see plan providers because they have specifically agreed to discount their services for those enrolled in the dental plan. Dental plans range greatly in how many providers are included, and some literally offer thousands of choices nationwide. Even in many traditional dental insurance plans you are limited in the providers you may choose to realize the full or partial savings of the plan.
A dental plan is very simple. Many companies will allow you to sign up over the internet and print your plan card, which is active immediately or within a day. You simply take this card to the provider. They will only charge you the amount that is dictated by the plan, no matter what the original charges are.
Many services are discounted through dental plans. These may include cleanings, dental exams, fillings and braces. Plans range in how expansive they are and the percentage discounts that they offer. Typically you will pay more for the greater discounts. Some companies will offer a wide range of plans for different needs.
Just because the providers offer services for a discounted price does not mean that you are getting lower quality service in any way. Companies that offer dental plans typically impose strict standards on providers because they reflect upon the company. The services should be the same one would get from the same provider if they were paying full price. Their skills and experience are comparable with other providers.
An advantage to dental plans is that you do not need to wait to be reimbursed as many traditional insurance plans require. You only pay the plan price. A great number of patients have completed dental work that they thought was covered only to find out later that they were not eligible for reimbursement. With a dental plan, this worry is eliminated.
Patients also do not need to go through the hassle of filling out claim forms. This paperwork can be difficult to understand and time-consuming, and some people do not get the money to which they are entitled because of problems in its completion. Dental plans simplify the process by cutting out this step.
Dental plans are also advantageous because they do not have limits on the amount you can save. Many dental insurance plans limit the amount they will pay out in a calendar year. Oftentimes this is relatively small at $1000 or $1500 a year. Sometimes it is not much more than the premium. With discount plans you will only pay the amount dictated by the plan no matter how many procedures you require.
Dental discount plans are also typically easy to understand. The plan will list the procedures that are eligible for discounts like a menu. You only need to look to see whether your procedure is covered and for how much. You will immediately know your responsibility.
Dental plans may be more comprehensive than some dental insurance plans in the amount of coverage that they provide. Dental insurance plans will often not cover cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening. A lot of dental plans will give you discounts on these procedures as well.
The discount dental plan is a viable option for many. The percentage that you save on the procedures may not be as significant as that of traditional insurance thus an individual should look at all of their options when making this decision. There are a variety of different plans available including both individual and family plans. Plans come at different price points and offer different coverage and provider choices. One should carefully evaluate these to discover which is the best for them.
Some people choose to purchase a dental plan even when they are covered by traditional dental insurance. Because of the limitations, exclusions and caps on traditional insurance plans, a dental plan can still be well worthwhile for a number of consumers as a supplemental plan.
A dental plan can be an excellent option for those looking to save money on dental care. Consumers should research the different plans and choose one that fulfills their needs.