Getting the Most Out of Your Dental Insurance Plan

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Healthcare can be costly. And while there’s a lot of angst today about insurance, most people depend on it to manage costs.

The same is true about dental care. If you’re going to effectively maintain healthy teeth and gums you will have expenses. And to keep those expenses as low as possible, many people depend on dental insurance.

While similar to general health insurance, most dental plans function more like a discount coupon to reduce overall cost. For example, a typical plan might cover 50% of a tooth extraction, while the patient or guarantor pays the rest of the charge.

This can be a great cost savings if your plan is part of a compensation package with your employer. With this arrangement, your employer pays the premiums as an employee benefit, which enables you to pay much less for dental care. (If you’re paying for the plan, though, you should “do the math” to see whether any cost savings is worth the annual premium.)

There’s one caveat, however, with employee benefit insurance: your employer and not you has negotiated the plan benefits with the insurance carrier. The plan could therefore contain deductibles and restrictions on types of procedures and materials covered. For example, your policy might pay for a certain type of crown, although your dentist may have another material of higher quality or durability available.

Although your dentist understand these constraints and their effect on your finances, their top priority is what’s best for your dental health. Your dentist will recommend your best options health-wise, not necessarily what a dental policy will cover. That could mean costs above what your policy will pay.

While policy details are often confusing to individuals, your dental office staff likely works regularly with several plans and carriers. They will do their best to help you get the most out of your coverage. And, if there are remaining costs for dental work after insurance pays, they may be able to work with you on a payment arrangement or program for the balance.

Your dentist will be glad to discuss with you what you can expect from your insurance plan for any upcoming dental work. The goal is to provide the best care possible within your budget.

If you would like more information on dealing with dental care costs, please schedule a consultation with your dentist. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Insurance 101.”

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