Compared to health insurance coverage, dental insurance plans are a bargain. For example, most dental insurance coverage includes preventive treatments such as a certain number of cleanings and x-rays free. You don’t get that with medical insurance coverage. And it’s a lot easier for an individual to find affordable dental insurance than it is to find low cost health insurance. Consider that a couple routine cleanings will run you $100 or more a piece, the cost of a typical individual dental insurance plan may almost be a break-even deal.
Depending on the dental insurance coverage you select, you’ll either have your choice of any dentist or a dental plan network of dentists to choose from. Your dental plan may limit the number of prophylactic (preventive) treatments you can make in a coverage year. Many dental plans also put a cap on the dollar amount they’ll pay out per year. And, like many health insurance plans, some dental insurance companies won’t cover treatment for preexisting conditions.
You should also be aware that dental insurance plans frequently reimburse for the least expensive treatment alternative. For instance, if you have a cavity and want a composite filling, your dental insurance company may only reimburse at a rate equal to what they’d pay for the cheaper amalgam filling. You can still have the composite filling, but you’re going to pay the difference.
Most dental insurance policies don’t cover cosmetic procedures like teeth whitening and veneers. Before you have any treatment done, meet with your dentist’s office manager or finance person to discuss what your dental insurance will and won’t pay for. Frequently, dental insurance companies require that a dentist submit a treatment plan for approval before services are rendered.
Remember, dental insurance plans in the U.S. are designed to off-set your dental care, not pay for it entirely. Still, 80% of an $1,200 procedure is better than footing the whole cost out of your own pocket, and if you have a medical flex spending account through your employer, your portion of the payment can qualifies for reimbursement, as do the premiums, if you’re self-insured.
Before you go shopping for dental insurance quotes, make a list of what’s important to you and find the dental policy that provides the best coverage for your situation. By shopping around, you can find a dental insurance quote that fits your budget and your specific needs.