Dental Insurance Part One

Before we talk about dental insurance, let’s preface it by saying we aren’t advocating for one type of insurance over another, or even for coverage in general: we are advocating for our patients and what is best for them. Each person, family, and situation is different. The next couple of blogs are going to talk about dental insurance plans. Why you might want a plan, how to examine the details and costs, and what kind of tiered plans might be available.

Reasons to buy insurance

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Your dental history is a pretty fair determination of your dental needs. If you’re the person who gets cleanings twice a year and never has trouble, the theory is that paying for dental insurance doesn’t make sense. You’d be better off to put what you’d pay in premiums into a savings account during those years to save for any future dental needs and help with unexpected dental issues. Most people don’t have the self-control to save specifically for dental (or medical) care. Insurance companies know this, which is how they make their living.

When a patient is considering dental insurance, there are some things which should be at the forefront of their thinking. First and foremost, your dental care should be about your oral health. It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole and forget that when trying to find a plan which will work for you. By looking at the monthly cost of different types of payments, the cheapest one may seem the best unless you find out it doesn’t cover your oral health needs.

These are the most critical questions a patient should ask when reviewing a dental plan:

  • Costs beyond premium: You will not only have to pay for the cost on the insurance, but there will also be a copay or a deductible. Use a piece of scratch paper to determine your cost for the year, inclusive of these costs.

  • Your dentist: Find out if your dentist accepts the insurance you’re considering. If their name is on the list, it only takes a few seconds to call and ask if they still accept the plan. Things change quickly, and insurance companies may not change the information on their website or literature as fast as the changes occur.

  • Maximums, limitations, and pre-existing conditions: Does the policy have a yearly maximum? Conditions it won’t cover? Out-of-pocket maximums? When viewing a plan on paper, it’s easy to gloss over specific questions about what kind of care is included. A way to look harder is to pretend you’re going to need to use every single one of these options in the coming year. Covered? Not covered?

  • Emergency care: Some policies cover emergency services when you’re away from home, and others don’t. You should know if and how the plan you’re considering deals with dental emergencies.

In our next blog, we'll talk more about types of coverage, packages, and legal details of dental insurance policies.

If you need a gentle, caring dental team, please call our office at (623) 362-2550. We’ll give you the very best dental care we can!