Are you one of those families who just ‘skips’ regular
dental checkups because you are without dental insurance? Sadly,
there are millions of people who put off seeing a dentist due to
high costs associated with dental procedures. Thankfully, since
dental care costs have risen in recent years, there are now discount
or reduced-fee dental plans available.
What are dental plans exactly?
They are designed especially for those who desire
to have good oral health while at the same time managing their budget. In an
average year, a dental plan can save a family hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Savings per trip to the dentist are around 33%. How does this work? The dentists
who belong to this ‘network’ have agreed accept a lower fee, therefore
making it affordable.
An important note: These plans are not insurance! The differences are the discount
dental plans do not require annual limits, there are no health restrictions and
paperwork is no longer a nuisance. Members of a dental plan pay a monthly or
yearly fee in order to receive discounts on their dental services. Price lists
for dental plans can be located online to aid in your decision making.
It is important to take time to do research on dental discount plans. Be sure
to look at the cost per month or year versus the discounts received on services.
If you agree to pay a lower membership fee, the costs for the procedures might
require more out-of-pocket money.
Some things to remember when looking for and deciding upon a dental plan:
Determine how many dentists in your local area have agreed to participate in
the discount dental plan. Call their office to confirm they still accept the
plan which you are considering.
Choosing to pay the monthly membership fee could save money in the short term,
but paying the yearly membership fee could save a lot more in the long run. If
you are aware of coverage that is forthcoming from your employer, then the monthly
fee is probably a good idea. Otherwise, a one-time yearly membership fee might
save a lot in a year.
Specialists should offer at least a 20% discount through the dental plan. Specialists
include Periodontists, Orthodontists, and Oral Surgeons to name a few. Teeth
whitening, dental implants and root canals don’t necessarily require a
specialist, so check with your family dentist if these services are needed/required.
Visit NAIC.org to determine whether or not the dental plan you are considering
is reputable and can be trusted to provide services once the membership fee has
been paid. This website puts you into contact with your State Insurance Commissioner
and they will know if the company is registered and therefore legitimate. Even
though dental plans are a part of a heavily-regulated business, there are those
companies who claim to provide great dental services, but end up being a scam.
In the case you need services immediately (your tooth has kept you up all night),
coverage can be provided the same day by some dental plans. Otherwise, coverage
typically begins one to two weeks after signing up and paying the membership
You might have a dozen or so plans from which to choose just in your local area,
so take the time to compare dentists who are participating, check discounts given
on procedures, compare membership fees and inquire about any restrictions that