Dental Savings Plans, the affordable alternative to dental insurance, have been in the news lately. You may have heard that they are a great alternative to dental insurance because dental savings plans can save you 10-60% on your dental bills, that there’s no limit on how often you can use them, and no restrictions on getting treatment for existing conditions.
And you’re probably wondering how a dental savings plan works because it all sounds just a little too good to be true.
Get ready for the good news – dental savings plans really do help you to save money at the dentist, plus these plans eliminate many of the annoyances associated with traditional dental insurance.
Dental Savings Plans: The Basics
As a plan member you have access to a network of dentists who have agreed to offer reduced rates to members. Many plans have thousands of dentists participating nationwide, so you have a wide choice of dental care provider options. Bonus: these plans work when you’re travelling in the U.S., a great feature for snowbirds who spend the winter in warmer states and return north in the summer or for anyone who travels a lot on business.
Other plans focus on providing access to dentists in specific locations, which can make them a great choice if you tend to get most of your dental care close to home.
No matter how big the network, dentists like dental savings plans because they don’t have to deal with insurance company red tape. Plan members simply pay the reduced fee directly to the dentist. No need to get treatment plans approved by an insurance provider, no worries about figuring out complex rules to understand what insurance will or will not cover. Dental savings plans are simple to use, and easy to understand.
Dental Savings Plans Vs Dental Insurance
Dental insurance can be a good buy if your employer provides it as a benefit, or if you want to basically “pre-pay” for basic dental care. After all, if you pay out of pocket for two checkups and cleanings and a set of X-rays, your cost, on average, will be around $375-$400, according to the American Dental Association. So, with a dental policy, you’re basically pre-paying for your essential preventive care, with a little assurance built in that if you need a couple of fillings, or chip a tooth, you’re also covered.
But it’s important to remember that dental insurance policies typically cap coverage at $1000 -$1,500 a year. When your dental costs for most procedures go over that limit, you then have to pay for your dental care for the rest of the year. Given that the average cost for a crown is $750-1200, and the cost of a single implant starts at $1500, you can exhaust your annual dental allowance fairly quickly.
Dental savings plans don’t have coverage caps. Members can use their plans to save at the dentist whenever needed.
Most dental insurance plans are also likely to have a “deducible,” an amount that you will have to pay out of pocket for dental services before your insurance will begin to cover their portion of the costs – typically $50 for an individual annually, and $150 for a family. There is no deductible with dental insurance plans. Members start saving as soon as their plan activates, typically within 3 business days of purchase. Some plans offer activation within 24-hours.
Dental Insurance Waiting Periods
Dental insurance typically imposes restrictions on covering costly treatments and pre-existing conditions. With a new-to-you plan, you’ll usually have to wait six months for basic restorative services or a year for major restorative services.
And dental insurance often will not pay to restore teeth that were missing before you purchased the policy; any may not play for work that was underway prior to the policy going into effect.
Dental savings plans have no waiting periods, and no “missing tooth” clauses. There are also no restrictions on when and how often you can get treatment.
Dental Savings Plans: Cost And Benefits
The plans available on dentalplans.com range from $79.95-$199.95 annually. There’s a plan for every budget and dental care need, whether you want to save on braces or root canals, dental implants or dentures, basic care or complex treatments.
Plus, virtually all of the plans include additional free bonus benefits too, such as savings on vision and hearing care, prescriptions, and other wellness services. Select plans include a bundle of health and wellness services which range from telemedicine –free consultations with local doctors who can diagnose and treat common ailments (including prescribing medications), alternative medicine and fitness centers, and savings on labwork and medical diagnostic services.
Compare those prices to the typical cost of an individual dental insurance policy, which is around $350 a year for an individual. For a family of four, the cost of dental insurance is around $550, annually.
Carefully consider your options – dental insurance, a dental savings plan or self-insurance (banking the amount you’d pay for insurance in your own health savings account), and then choose the dental plan that’s right for you.
To learn more about dental savings plans, and start saving money on your dental care costs, visit dentalplans.com or call 1-866-815-6963.