Dental insurance often gets lumped in with health insurance. After all, they’re both related to your health.
The fact is that your health insurance and dental insurance are 2 separate policies, much like your home and auto insurance are 2 separate policies.
When clients call our office asking what or who we recommend for dental insurance, we have to go through a series of discussions to review the costs and benefits of getting dental insurance.
Sometimes, in fact, a majority of the time, we don’t recommend they purchase dental insurance.
Kinda weird for an insurance agent to not recommend buying something, right?
How Dental Insurance Works
I often don’t consider dental insurance to really be dental insurance. It’s more of a pre-paid dental plan.
Here’s what I mean.
Most dental plans will have waiting periods for certain basic and major services.
Now the basic preventative stuff, like an exam or teeth cleaning will most likely be covered from day one. So you can buy your policy today and get your teeth cleaned tomorrow.
But if you need a cavity filled, or any major dental work is done, you’re likely going to be subject to a 6-12 month waiting period.
So why are there waiting periods?
Simple. To protect the insurance company.
Can you imagine how long an insurance company would stay in business if you could buy a $30 policy today, have them pay out $1,000 in coverage benefits, and then cancel the policy next week? Now I know you’d never do that. But I think somewhere, someone just might consider it. I mean, after all, why would you continue to pay for an insurance plan for the next 6-12 months if you won’t see any additional benefit from it? Just get a new plan next year, right?
Now I know that’s a little sarcastic and facetious, but I think you get the point. The insurance companies wouldn’t stay in business very long.
That’s why there are waiting periods before certain procedures are covered.
How to get the most out of your Policy
To get the most out of your dental insurance plan, you need to be religious about going to the dentist.
Let’s look at the cost and benefit of a dental plan. In our example, we’re going to assume a $30 monthly premium for an individual plan.
$30 per month is $360 per year.
How often are you going to the dentist? If you’re on top of it, you should be going every 6 months. The average checkup and cleaning in Utah run approx $120 – $150. So, if you go 2 times per year, your out of pocket expense would be $240 – $300 for those cleaning vs the $360 you spend on premiums. (Plus some dentists offer a discount for cash payers)
But what about major dental work.
Most dental insurance plans have a cap of $1000 for major dental work. And don’t forget about that waiting period.
My next two questions are “when is the last time you had major dental work done? And how often do you get major dental work done?”
Yes, there is some benefit to having a dental plan. But you have to use it often and consistently in order to come out on top.
I still refer to it as a pre-paid dental plan instead of true insurance.
I Still want Dental Insurance
OK, so you still want to get dental insurance in place. No problem.
The first thing I’ll ask you to do is to call your dentist and talk to the person in charge of insurance billing. Ask them which insurance company pays the best for how that dentist bills. All dentists bill differently and carrier networks are different for each dentist. So getting insight from your dentist office may help guide you in picking the best plan that works well for you and your dentist. This can give you the best bang for your buck.
Our recommendation is to work with the carrier your dentist recommends.
Here are 4 companies and plans you can pick from as well.
When you pick your plan, enrollment should be fairly straightforward. You can enroll anytime as there is no open enrollment period to wait for enrollment for a dental plan.
If you’d like assistance with completing your enrollment, give us a call at the office and we’d be happy to help.
Did you pick the right Health Plan?
Unlike dental insurance, you can’t buy or switch health insurance plans mid-year unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
But did you know you can switch Insurance Agents at any time? And there is NEVER a fee or cost to have a Health Advisor help you with your health insurance.
If you bought your plan directly from the marketplace or from the carrier, consider letting us become your Agent of Record.
There are tons of upside with no downside. Let us help you with your health insurance headache.