Young girl sitting in dentist chair with dentist and hygienist nearby

How to Choose a Dental Plan for You and Your Family

Choosing dental insurance can be tough, but in the long run, it can save you a lot of money if you ever have a dental emergency. Dental coverage will also encourage you to get regular checkups that prevent cavities and other dental issues. Here are some tips on how to choose a dental plan for you and your family.

Consider what kind of plan you need.
Most plans offer two types of services: preventative care and restorative care. Preventative plans will cover diagnosis and preventative measures such as fluoride treatments and cleanings. Restorative is the kind of care you’ll need if you get cavities, crowns, and other such services. Purchasing a plan that covers restorative care will cover preventative care as well, but preventative services will not cover restorative treatments.

Compare several different insurance companies.
Each company offers different plans, and each one you look at has a different deductible, amount covered, and services. If you don’t compare benefits, you may end up with a plan that lacks services you need. If you’re having trouble figuring out the benefits of each company, you can request that an agent visit your home. An agent can fully explain each plan, assist you in choosing which one is best, and help you sign up.

Compare prices and services offered.
Once you’ve made a list of different dental insurance companies, compare costs and covered services. The cheapest option isn’t always the best choice. Small children are more apt to have cavities compared to adults, so preventative care only may not be the best. The cheapest plan will offer fewer services. Create a chart if necessary.

Another thing you need to investigate is how much your coverage maximum is and how often you can receive certain services. Many plans will only allow you two cleanings a year. If you need more than two, you need to find a plan that allows exceptions. A low maximum coverage can cause you to pay quite a bit out of pocket, so make sure the amount is adequate for each family member.

Examine dentists who are in-network.
Each plan will have a list of dentists who are in-network. “In-network” means your dental insurance will cover the services performed by these particular doctors. It’s important to see if your family dentist is on the list before you purchase the plan. While some plans may offer coverage for out-of-network dentists, you can be responsible for as much as 65% of the bill.

Understand that orthodontic care may not be covered.
Orthodontic care can be very expensive. For example, the average cost for a single child to get braces is over $5,600. This price isn’t something most people can pay out of pocket. Adult braces are even more expensive. Since roughly 45% of children need braces when they’re younger, you need to make sure orthodontic care is covered and learn how much you’ll have to pay out of pocket.

Look for any discounts.
Some circumstances allow you to get a discount or reduced fee-for-service plans. Many dental insurance providers will reduce the price of services if you work for certain companies. Whether you are eligible for insurance or not, some companies will insure you at a group rate. Another way is to get a discount based on your household income. If your total income is below a certain amount, you can get deep discounts. Finally, if you are a veteran, you can find a plan that’s just right for you and your income. Sometimes you can receive price cuts for combining your health and dental insurance with one provider.  

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