When it comes to dental insurance, it is important to "put your
money where your mouth is." The more comprehensive your dental insurance
plan, the less likely the health of your teeth will be a problem
over the long term. As dental disease is so common and gum disease
can affect other organs such as the heart, stomach and intestines,
it is a wise idea to invest in dental
insurance as an essential safeguard for you and your family.
Even the most inexpensive and rudimentary
of dental insurance plans covers preventative care such as check
ups and cleanings. Regular cleaning of the teeth is one of the keys
to maintaining oral health and can keep future dental costs down.
This can also help reduce your medical costs and medical insurance
premiums in the future.
Dental insurance works differently than medical
insurance. Most dental coverage is designed to ensure that the patient
receives regular preventive care. High quality dental care rarely
requires the complex, multiple resources often required by medical
care. A thorough examination by the dentist and a set of x-rays
are all it usually takes to diagnose a problem. As most dental disease
is preventable, dental benefits plans are structured to encourage
patients to get the regular, routine care so vital to preventing
and diagnosing the onset of serious disease.
If your options include a plan funded by
your employer, you may have an administrator responsible for processing
and payment of claims. The primary responsibility of the third party
is to provide the financial foundation for your dental
benefits plan. There are three types of third parties.
Dental Service Corporations are not-for-profit
organizations that negotiate and administer contracts for dental
care to individuals or specific groups of patients. This is the
type of dental insurance that is received by most employees.
Insurance Carriers are for-profit companies
who underwrite the financial risk and process payment claims for
dental services. These dental insurance companies make contracts
with individuals or patient groups to offer a variety of dental
benefits packages. Some providers are also able to offer international
dental plans which cover you whilst you are on holiday, or abroad
on business. But this may not be standard, so you need to check
with them before travelling.
Self-Funded Insurers are companies who use
their own funds to underwrite the expense of providing dental care
to their employees. The company pays for the dental costs of its
employees, usually with limitations on services and fixed-dollar
When purchasing an individual plan, you are
usually offered two choices. The open panel plan allows covered
patients to receive care from any dentist. Closed panel plans, which
are also sometimes called Freedom of Choice plans only allows you
to receive insurable treatment from a dentist the company chooses.
Most dental insurance plans provide coverage
for selected diagnostic services, preventive care and emergency
treatment that are basic for maintaining good oral health. However
the extent or frequency of the services covered by some plans may
be limited. Depending upon your individual oral health needs, you
may be required to pay the dentist directly for a portion of this
Before purchasing a dental plan, find out
how much treatment is allowed in any given year without cost to
you, and how much you will have to pay for yourself. This is crucial
as every dental care plan is different.