We’d all like to make our choice of dentist based on quality of customer service and care, experience and expertise, and general convenience — such as location, office hours and the time between scheduling and an appointment. But the first thing many of us are forced to consider when trying to find a dentist are finances.
Depending on your situation, you might have dental insurance or the cash necessary to pay out of pocket. If not, however, it may benefit you to choose an affordable dentist who is part of a discount dental plan provider network.
Dental Plans vs. Insurance
The difference between a dental plan and dental insurance is significant. Dental insurance typically entails premiums and deductibles, and will pay for a portion of your dental costs. The amount covered by dental insurance depends on the plan as well as the kind of dental work you require and how much it will cost.
Sometimes dental insurance covers a large portion of your dental costs, sometimes very little.
A dental plan, on the other hand, provides deep discounts on every dental visit and procedure. If you have a dental plan, there are no copays or claims, and you pay any dental bills directly to your provider with a discount. You can save between 20 percent and 50 percent on the total costs of your visits.
Especially if you are going to have extensive work done in a short period of time, a dental plan may be the best route. With a dental plan, the overall cost can be significantly lower than the costs you would begin to accrue once the benefit cap on your dental insurance was spent.
Specifics of Dental Insurance
With dental insurance, you pay a premium each month — or once a year, depending on the structure of the plan. The amount of coverage in every dental insurance plan is limited by three factors: deductibles, maximums and coverage.
Almost all dental insurance plans require you pay a percentage of the total cost of dental work. Your deductible could be anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent of the total bill.
Again, your deductible is determined by the conditions of your dental insurance plan.
Whatever remains after the insurance company pays the total amount your plan dictates, you are responsible for paying on your own. Most insurance plans have a per-year ceiling. The insurance company is only responsible for a certain amount each year.
Once an insurance company has paid for X amount of dental work in a 12-month period, all other costs are your responsibility.
In addition to the deductible and the maximum, you need to be aware of coverage. A dental insurance plan typically limits the kind of dental work it will cover. Some insurance plans only cover cleanings and fillings, for example. Others may cover surgical procedures and cosmetic work.
Specifics of Dental Plans
Dental plans work similar to a coop. The premiums of a large number of people are pooled and distributed among different dentists and those dentists, in turn, offer discounted rates.
But, unlike dental insurance, none of the costs of a dental appointment are covered by the coop. Once you agree on the cost of a procedure(s), you are responsible for covering the entire sum.
However, unlike dental insurance, there are no maximums. Regardless of how many procedures you require in a year, the discount remains the same, though there can be different discount rates for different procedures.
Choose An Affordable Dentist
It’s important to do the necessary research in order to find out whether you can save more money using a dental plan or by getting dental insurance. Once you know, use DentalSave’s dentist database to choose an affordable dentist in your area. Not only is it easy, but you can get exclusive discounts by becoming a DentalSave member.