To buy, or not to buy? Dental insurance, that is. This is a question that is frequently pondered. Since insurance is a useful tool to protect against financial hardship or ruin due to catastrophic accidents or other unforeseen circumstances, it’s an important question to ask. Purchasing insurance is frequently advocated but if you are young and healthy, dental insurance may not be a good investment, especially if you don’t plan to visit the dentist more than twice a year. What you pay in premiums for dental insurance may be more than paying the dentist for your checkups out of pocket.
However, millions of adults each year undergo root canal and other dental procedures. Their degrees of dental unhealthiness are affected by a variety of influences that include dental hygiene, stress, personal eating habits and nutrition. If you have had or anticipate major dental work, you may be well advised to consider the purchase of a good dental insurance plan. Another option is to join a discounted dental group to offset what could be very steep dental bills.
There are several types of dental coverage available to individuals and families. These include Indemnity Plans, Preferred Provider Plans, HMO Plans and Discount Plans.
Dental Indemnity Insurance Plans
An indemnity insurance policy provides traditional insurance coverage. A pre-set percentage of dental bills are covered for a flat monthly fee or premium. Usually this type of plan covers 100% of preventive services, 80% of restoration services and 50% of major treatment like orthodontics. There usually is a waiting period for major work; check with the provider for details.
Dental Preferred Provider Plans
A preferred provider plan usually costs around $40 per month and offers highly discounted rates for dental procedures performed by providers within the specified network. Some benefits may be available outside the network but it’s important to read your policy to know exactly what may or may not be covered. State insurance departments regulate preferred provider plans and they fall in the insurance category.
HMO Dental Insurance
HMO insurance plans are also referred to as capitation plans. These types of policies operate in a similar fashion as Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO). HMO insurance plans are also regulated by state insurance department and usually run between $20-$40 a month.
Dental Discount Plans
Discount dental plans are structured like a club membership. Members get the lowest price for services provided when they show a membership card. These plans are also network based. They offer the greatest value to individual and family memberships. This type of dental plan technically involves purchasing a discounted access to a network dentist and therefore it is not considered insurance.