Learn about dental
Dental insurance may not be right
for everyone—discover the
Shopping for dental insurance? There are a few things you need to know, starting with the fact that dental insurance isn’t like other kinds of insurance.
Do a little research and you’ll find that typical dental coverage is more like a pre-payment plan—very different than the insurance you buy for your home or car, or even your health insurance. It may not be right for everybody.
Keep reading to learn how dental insurance works and to discover how other options can offer bigger savings and a better deal.
How insurance usually works
With most kinds of insurance, you pay a regular premium that protects you and your family against unforeseen costs—health care expenses, for example, or repairs to your home or car. In exchange for your premiums, the insurance company agrees to cover your bills (minus co-pays or deductibles).
Insurance companies bet that they’ll collect more in premiums than they pay out in claims. Policyholder relax knowing they’re covered if disaster strikes.
How dental insurance is different
Dental insurance is different, mainly because of the relatively low limit it sets on claims. Most dental insurance plans won’t cover expenses that surpass $1,000-2,000 per year.
Contrast this with health insurance, which commonly covers expensive treatments, or home and auto insurance, where you’re covered for the full value of your house or car.
With dental insurance, you still pay your premiums, but if you go over your annual benefits cap, you’re on your own for any additional expenses.
Most people won’t surpass that cap in any given year. But here’s another consideration—if you don’t need much dental care, you’ll probably pay more in premiums than what you get back in reimbursements.
All these factors make dental insurance look more like a pre-payment plan than typical insurance.
How much dental insurance costs
Let’s take a closer look in what you pay with dental insurance and how much it might end up costing for a typical year. We’ll use the example of an individual who needs just basic care—a couple of routine visits and a filling:
|Procedure||What your dentist charges||What you pay|
|Annual fee/premiums (individual)||NA||$1,200|
|Two annual exams||$104>||$0|
|Two annual cleanings||$186||$0|
But add in the cost of premiums. In this case, our patient would have saved nearly 50 percent by simply paying the dentist out of pocket. Granted, our patient has the peace of mind of knowing they’re covered for more expensive care should they need it, but only to a point.
How to know if dental insurance is right for you
Everybody’s needs are different, and only you can decide whether dental insurance makes sense.
Dental insurance might be right for you if your anticipated dental expenses fall into the sweet spot—high enough to take full advantage of your benefits, but low enough not to surpass your coverage cap. If you need basic dental care plus a few other procedures, you might get back what you pay in.
Dental insurance may also be a good deal if your employer provides it and subsidizes your premium. But you should still study your coverage closely and understand its limitations.
How to find better savings
It works on a membership model, like a warehouse club. When you become a DentalSave member, you get access to discounted rates—usually 25-50 percent off—from top dentists across the country. You receive the same great dental care, but you pay a lot less.
Let’s look at that sample costs chart again, this time comparing DentalSave with insurance coverage:
|Annual fee/premiums (individual)||$99||$1,200|
|Two annual exams||$57>||$0|
|Two annual cleanings||$102||$0|
We’ve already established that for an individual who needs basic dental care, insurance isn’t a great deal. It’s no surprise that in this comparison, a DentalSave member comes out on top.
But also notice how DentalSave membership pays for itself . Our membership fee and dentist’s costs combined are significantly less than the $682 a non-member would pay for the exact same care.
Some dentists accept both DentalSave and insurance. Ask if you can combine both kinds of plans for even better deals. And if you’re looking for a dentist, use our search tools to find a DentalSave dentist close to you.
Just a few simple steps
It takes just a few minutes to enroll in your DentalSave plan: