These days it’s normal to feel frustrated about your dental insurance policy or lack of coverage altogether. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly common for people not to have dental insurance at all, even if they have health benefits through their employer.
If you’re considering getting an add-on insurance policy or signing up for one yourself, it’s important to ask the question, “Should I get dental insurance at all, or is there a better option out there?”
Should I Get Dental Insurance before a Procedure?
A lot of people assume that they need to get dental insurance before having major dental work completed. Then they wonder, “Should I get insurance through my employer? Is it better to sign up for dental insurance on my own?”
Before you get ahead of yourself, it may not be worth it to sign up for an insurance plan at all. Especially if you only need routine care or have a major dental procedure coming up.
Why? Because dental insurance doesn’t exactly work the way you might think it does.
Instead of delaying your dental procedure or giving up on it altogether, it’s important to see how insurance benefits apply to certain treatments. At Canal Vista Family Dental, each of our patients receives an itemized treatment plan with detailed fees for each service and an estimated insurance portion. Once you have a care plan, you can make a better financial decision about whether or not it’s worth it to go out and get a different insurance company.
Understanding How Dental Insurance Works
Dental insurance policies are prevention-based. That means they pay for most preventative services like exams, cleanings, fluoride (for kids,) and X-rays. The purpose is to keep you on top of your oral health needs before issues arise so that they can be prevented altogether.
The bad part about dental insurance is the coverage is capped at about $1,000 to $1,500 per year. This amount hasn’t increased with the cost of living in over 40 years. The cap on it today is the same maximum amount it paid out back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. As you might guess, that means the coverage pays for less and less in regard to dental work.
The more complex a dental procedure is, the less dental insurance will pay for it. For example, a basic filling might be covered at 80%, but a major dental crown could only be covered up to 50%, and that’s after your deductible or copay is met. When dental needs get pushed back on the calendar, they often become more costly (because the tooth continues to deteriorate.) Instead of the insurance paying more to repair your smile, it pays less.
Unfortunately, it’s fairly common for insurance carriers to have such tight restrictions that what was initially thought to be covered winds up not being covered as much or at all. All any dentist’s office can do is “estimate” what will be covered based on the enrollment information provided through the insurance carrier. And there’s nothing worse than a surprise dental bill a month after the procedure when you thought your insurance paid for it but didn’t.
Is Dental Insurance Worth It?
For some people, it’s completely worth it to have dental insurance. Especially if it’s offered through their employer at a low monthly rate each month. If you sit and crunch the numbers and your policy covers your family’s exams, checkups, X-rays, sealants, and fluoride every year, it probably pays for itself. Other times it doesn’t, and you are actually paying more out of pocket for insurance than you would for your checkups every six months.
On the other hand, if you know your child needs a few fillings and braces, you want a dental implant or veneers, or you’re on the verge of losing a couple of teeth unless you get root canal treatment, your insurance isn’t going to “go as far” as your budget will wish it did. In those scenarios, it may not be worth going out and buying insurance because the benefits will usually expire before you’ve completed the treatment you need (or worse, the treatment isn’t covered under your plan at all.)
Affordable Alternatives to Dental Insurance
If you don’t have dental insurance, don’t rush off to enroll in a plan. A better, easier-to-understand and more affordable option is to join a dental membership club.
What is a dental membership club? It’s a private membership plan available through your dentist’s office that passes the savings on to patients without the hassle of processing insurance claims or restrictions of an insurance policy.
When you’re part of a dental membership club, you get to enjoy benefits like:
- Included checkups and preventative cleaning at no extra cost
- Necessary X-rays
- Optional periodontal coverage add-on plan
- A 15% discount on all additional treatments
Best off, there are zero deductibles, zero waiting periods, and zero restrictions. You can plan all of the treatment you need and enjoy a fixed discount, regardless of how simple or complex it may be. That includes optional cosmetic treatments, too (something insurance doesn’t cover.)
People who enroll in a dental membership plan never have to worry about their insurance running out or not paying for something. Their discount applies to everything, taking the guesswork out of the treatment planning process.
Dental Membership Plans Save Patients Money
Instead of paying for a dental insurance policy every month, joining a membership plan instantly pays for itself. After you’ve received your preventative care, the included discount can be used on as few or many services as your family needs. It’s a win-win for patients and dentists alike, and there’s no guesswork about how much anything will cost. Plus, you can enroll in a low or 0% interest payment plan if you do require any major treatment (giving you low monthly payments with no hidden fees.)
No Insurance? No Problem
Canal Vista Family Dental makes it easier to pay for dental care even if you don’t have dental insurance benefits. Our in-house membership club and affordable payment plans ensure you’re able to access the treatment you need right when you need it. There’s no “middle man” controlling how much (or little) your insurance covers (or doesn’t.)
For quality, competitively priced dental care in Princeton, NJ, call Canal Vista Family Dental Today.