Paying for essential dental services like cleanings and extractions can put a lot of stress on a family’s budget. If you want to save money at the dentist, then you should compare these four financing dental care options to decide which one will work best for you.
Dental insurance can lower the costs of routine visits and other procedures in a variety of ways. Some insurance companies negotiate lower rates with the dentists in their networks. A dental insurance company will also pay for a portion of the services you receive.
Unfortunately, dental insurance doesn’t pay for everything. Most policies require you to pay a co-pay when you visit your dentist. The specific amount varies significantly from provider to provider.
Dental insurance also requires you to spend a predetermined amount of money (called a deductible) before it will cover things like root canals, fillings, crowns, caps and extractions. Deductibles can also vary from company to company. One dental policy may pay for all of your services after you pass a $200 threshold while a different policy may require you to spend $500 or more before it will cover your bills.
Unless you receive dental insurance from your employer, then you will have to purchase it independently. Although dental insurance usually costs less than healthcare insurance, the monthly expense can add up.
Dental Discount Plans
Dental discount plans offer a useful way to keep dental expenses affordable that differ from traditional dental insurance. Once you sign up for a dental discount plan, you pay a low monthly or annual fee to take advantage of lower dental costs.
DentalSave has plans that cover 20 to 50 percent of every visit to participating locations. DentalSave also negotiates prices to help you save even more.
For instance, if you need to get a porcelain crown, the dentist will charge a negotiated price of about $1,191. The specific price depends on the dentist and other services you may need. Instead of paying the entire $1,191, you pay a member fee that’s up to 50 percent lower than the negotiated rate. In this case, you might pay $577.50 for the crown. That means you save $472.50 without having to deal with an insurance company that might try to deny your claim.
Dental Payment Plans
Dental practices know that many people cannot afford to pay for surgeries and other expensive procedures. Many practices, therefore, will set up payment plans for patients who need help financing dental care don’t have insurance or discount plans.
Payment plans benefit you by breaking your bill into smaller increments. For instance, Instead of paying $1,191 at once, you get to spread the payments out over several months. Although payment plans can make services feel more affordable, they don’t save you money. You don’t get a negotiated rate or discount when you use them.
In fact, most payment plans act like loans, so you’ll probably pay interest on the amount that you owe. If your payment plan has a 15 percent rate and lets you repay over 48 months, then you spend more than $400 on interest on your crown.
CareCredit acts like a credit card that you can use to pay for the amount left on your bill after your insurance policy or dental discount plan pays its part. Unlike regular credit cards, though, CareCredit doesn’t charge interest on short-term charges as long as you repay the full amount by the end of the 18-month promotional period.
For long-term financing that lasts more than 24 months, your APR will vary from 14.9 to 16.9 percent.
Like payment plans, CareCredit can make dental services feel more affordable. Unfortunately, you don’t benefit from negotiated or discounted rates when you use it. Since you can potentially avoid interest, though, CareCredit often gives you a better deal than payment plans.
You don’t need insurance to keep your dental services affordable. Explore your options for financing dental care and choose one that matches the needs of your family.