Dental Insurance

Most people have integrated health insurance, car insurance, and home insurance into their lives. The investment in insurance is critical for protection, ensuring that you do not experience unexpected, overwhelming expenses which could cause financial disaster.  

One often overlooked insurance option is dental insurance.  In fact, according to recent reports, the United States is currently at a historical low for the number of families that possess dental insurance.  

Whether or not to invest in dental insurance is an important decision.  Your dental health has a direct connection to your overall health, but often gets neglected.  While keeping your budget in mind, there are an assortment of dental insurance options that can keep your family’s health protected.  

What is dental insurance?

Like other insurance policies, dental insurance is an agreement between you and the insurance provider.  The agreement may vary in terms, but generally involve covering the cost of basic dental services and special services, such as root canals and bridges. There is an approval process, generally simple, and you usually have your choice in dental providers.  Or, your dental insurance may actually be in a form of a discount dental plan, which would provide you with a certain percentage discount at participating dentists.  

There are many kinds of dental insurance: individual, family, student, supplemental, military, and insurance for braces. You may be offered dental insurance through your employer. More companies are now providing such benefits, especially as research continues to emphasize the importance of oral health.  If your employer does offer a dental plan, it may be a very good option to consider for your future health.  

What are the benefits and drawbacks to dental insurance?

The main advantage to dental insurance is that the policy holder enjoys lower out-of-pocket cost for dental care.  Whether you have a dental insurance HMO or PPO, you pay significantly less for regular checkups and oral care, including cleaning and filling of cavities.  

If you use a dental plan (which provides you a discount in price rather than full coverage), there is usually less paperwork and less disagreement over the care recommended by your dental professional.

The main disadvantage to a good dental insurance plan is the cost— and working it into your budget.  However, considering the connection between oral health and physical health, taking care of your teeth is a necessary investment.

What are the features of dental insurance?

Dental insurance is usually sold on a group plan because individual plans are too cost-prohibitive.  The plans usually cover dental services such as fillings, crowns, extractions, bridgework, and dentures, as well as yearly check-ups and cleaning.

Preventative care is always an important part of health. Most policy types contain relatively low annual limits of coverage, and include deductibles and coinsurance provisions. Some typical programs include the following:
•    Direct Reimbursement programs: This dentists insurance plan usually has full coverage and reimburses patients a percentage of the money spent on treatment. The patient ops to see the dentist of his or her choice.
•    Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) programs: These dentist insurance plans under have a network of dentists who offer discount their fees. The discount is an incentive for patients to choose that particular practice. The disadvantage here is that if the patient's dentist does not contract with the plan, the patient will have a loss of benefits.
•    Capitation programs: This option pays participating dentists a fixed amount per enrolled family or patient or group, such as a union or a company. The dentists will provide specific treatments to the patients with no charge. For certain procedures, there may be a small co-payment.
An important decision….

If your employer provides you with a dental insurance benefit, then your best bet is to enroll through group insurance, which is often more affordable.  However, if you are self-employed, or your workplace does not have dental benefits, then the key is to shop around for the best value.  With the competition in dental insurance increasing, you can find a policy that works within your family’s budget.  

Take into consideration your family’s current oral health; if one of you has reoccurring, chronic dental problems, then you may want to purchase a more comprehensive policy.  On the other hand, if you are mostly seeking preventative care, then a more basic, less expensive program would suffice.    There is a direct relationship between oral health and your overall body’s health, and thus, obtaining dental insurance ensures that you and your family stay in optimal health affordably.

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