While dental health is an important part of overall health, the insurance options—and the coverage—for health care vs. dental care varies significantly. The good news is that dental insurance premiums are considerably lower than health insurance. But keep in mind that dental insurance policies have an annual limit to coverage. And while these plans may cover 80% to 100% of exams, cleanings and x-rays, other services will likely be covered at a lower percentage. Orthodontia and cosmetic procedures are often times not covered at all, so you’ll need to budget for your dental care wisely, starting with choosing the right insurance plan for you. Here are five things to keep in mind when you do…
The difference between group coverage and individual policies
Many people have dental insurance benefits through their employer or are part of a group coverage program such as AARP, Affordable Care Act marketplace health insurance policies, or public programs like TriCare, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. While these plans are typically less costly than opting for an individual insurance plan, you’ll need to decide if these plans, and their premiums, are right for you.
Individual policies are more expensive than group policies. They also having waiting periods for major procedures (often times up to a year), so don’t try to sign up for individual coverage right before you book a procedure. Expect to pay a portion of your major procedures. Consider setting aside money in a health savings account or personal account to cover these expenses.
Determining what a policy covers
Like many things done within an insurance plan, it’s always best to know before you go. Carefully read the policies you’re considering or already signed up for under an employer. More often than not there are waiting periods before you’re covered for certain types of procedures.
How to find a dentist in network
Finding the right dentist doesn’t have to be difficult. Asking friends and coworkers or other healthcare professionals for a recommendation is a good place to start. PPO and HMO plans outline the dentists you can see in their networks. Once you’ve found a dentist you’d like to see, be sure to ask them which insurance plans they accept.
Use it or lose it
A common mistake patients make is letting their dental benefits expire. Be sure to keep tabs on your available coverage and book your appointments before the year is up so you don’t lose hundreds of dollars that could be applied to your oral health.
Coverage and dental health
When you consider that those with dental insurance are more likely to see the dentist, getting signed up for the right plan is a positive step towards your health. Routine visits for preventive care can also help you avoid expensive procedures down the road.
(GRAPHIC WITH BOLD TEXT: Alpine Family Dentistry handles all billing and processing for most PPO plans, and offers convenient billing options for patients without insurance. Call us at #### to discuss your options.)