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Is Dental Insurance Right for Me?

April 24, 2017
Posted By: Dr. Russell D. Mann
general dentistry | manchester nh

If you’re looking for ways to cut down on your dental expenses, you may have considered investing in dental insurance. Generally, this type of insurance is not included in a health care plan, so it must be selected as a separate option. While plan literature might make it sound like a bargain, the monthly premiums may be a turnoff for you. All things considered, is dental insurance really worth the cost?

Types of Dental Insurance

Like like health insurance, dental insurance also comes in a few different levels in order to make it as confusing as possible. Generally, there are three separate forms of insurance: dental indemnity insurance, a PPO, and an HMO.

With dental indemnity insurance, all you have to do is choose a provider and the plan will automatically cover a certain portion of your bill.

With a PPO, your plan will provide you with lower rates if you choose an in-network dentist. It will still cover out-of-network dentists, but you’ll have to pay more.

With an HMO, your plan will only pay for dental care if you choose an in-network provider.

What Dental Insurance Costs

Because the three types of plans offer different levels of network care, they do have different costs as well. In most cases, dental indemnity insurance is the most expensive choice. Premiums will be high and you will have a maximum cap on your annual expenses. However, you will benefit from having smaller deductibles. PPOs and HMOs, on the other hand, are similar in terms of cost.

Overall, the average dental policy premium cost is $300 a year. However, they can range from $150 to $600 a year, so it’s important to shop around for the best deals you can find. Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind the maximum benefit of your plan. Most plans will only cover a total of $1,000 to $1,500 expenses in a year, meaning you’ll be on your own for the rest of your bills.

What Dental Insurance Covers

Again, different dental plans offer different levels of coverage. However, many follow the tried-and-true formula of 100-80-50 coverage. This means that they pay 100 percent of your preventive and diagnostic care visits (which equates to two dental checkups per year).

However, not all of the services you need will be covered at 100 percent. Instead, insurance companies will pay 80 percent of the bill for basic services like root canals or cavity fillings and 50 percent of more major procedures like bridges and crowns.

The Cost of Insurance vs. Paying on Your Own

To understand if dental insurance is really worth it, you have to consider what you’d pay for a year for normal dental expenses.

Let’s imagine that you avoid having any major problems and go to the dentist for two cleaning exams and a set of X-rays. Without insurance, the national estimate for this would be $370.

Compared to the average premium cost of $300, you can clearly see that dental insurance is worth it if you take full advantage of available services.

Now, if you miss a cleaning or don’t need x-rays, you could end up paying your insurance more than you receive in benefits.

Dental Maintenance Plan

If dental insurance doesn’t make sense for you, be sure to check out our dental maintenance plan. We offer single, dual and family plans and they come with complete coverage of basic services as well as discounts off of more major work.

No matter what, make sure you are comfortable talking about your financial options with your dentist. There are many ways to pay for dental work, and you need to discover what’s right for you.

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