If you have health insurance through your workplace, there is a strong possibility that you will also have access to dental insurance. According to an article on businessinsurance.com dated June 9, 2010, 80% of employees with health insurance coverage also have dental.
But 70% of consumers that buy their own health insurance do not have dental coverage. And just as dental insurance is the number one requested benefit among employees, many individual consumers are actively looking for the best Individual Dental Insurance Policy.
And that brings us to the key question: how do you know if a dental plan is a good buy? In today’s marketplace, there are a wide variety of dental plans available. Costs for different dental care plans range from surprisingly cheap to too costly to be logical. Follow these tips and you will the best individual dental insurance policy suitable for you.
Discount Dental Plans
These are generally the least expensive in terms of premium but can turn out to be the most expensive in terms of benefits. This is the best individual dental insurance policy if you are on a budget. However, before buying a discount dental plan, make sure that there is a large enough number of providers in your geographic area.
It’s even more important to make sure that your dentist is one of them. If your dentist is not one of the participating dentists, are you willing to change dentists? You will also want to get a list of the discount for cleanings and exams since this is the area of a dental plan that gets the most use.
These dental insurance plans offer a network of participating dentists who have agreed to accept the insurance company’s payment for specific services.
But what makes it the best individual insurance policy for specific people?
While the coverage is generally excellent you will have to use one of the participating dentists so just like the discount plans you want to make sure that your dentist is on the network or at least that there is a strong network in your area.
The PPO dental insurance plan will provide reduced benefits for going out of network. Before buying this type of insurance you should know whether you will generally be out of network and what those benefits are. Even if you don’t like this type of insurance, no problem. We got more for you. So, keep reading.
This is the most popular form of dental insurance because it allows you to go to any dentist. These plans pay benefits based on what is reasonable and customary for your area. If your dentist charges more than the insurance company considers reasonable you will have to pay the difference.
As a general rule, this difference is not going to be a lot of money since 80% or 90% of dentists will fall into this category.
Is It a Good buy?
Choosing the best individual dental insurance policy is difficult, but it will become easier if you keep in mind just one thing. And that’s if the insurance is worth it.
If you are going to buy dental insurance the first question to ask yourself is this: do I get my teeth cleaned twice per year? If not will I make a commitment to get my teeth cleaned twice per year? If your answer to these questions is “no” you should not buy dental insurance. If your answer is “yes” then dental insurance is probably a good buy.
Also, check the price of each provider and how much their services cost for an easier calculation.
For example, as of October 2022, cleaning at the dentist can cost between $75-$200. A set of bitewing x-rays once per year costs around $60. So if get your teeth cleaned twice per year you have to spend around $300 to $400.
As a general rule, if you get back 75% of your annual premium in cleanings and exams then dental insurance is good to buy. In this example, if your dental insurance cost were $390 or less it would be the best individual dental insurance policy.
Since your dentist is likely to increase his fees each year, your dental premium will also increase. If your use each year equals 75% of the premium or better it pays to keep your plan.
Look for a plan that provides 100% coverage for preventative and diagnostic care without an annual deductible. You will also want a plan that provides coverage for fillings, extractions, and larger expenses such as crowns and root canals.
A dental insurance plan with a graded benefit is better than a plan that has a waiting period for these additional benefits. It’s because the former provides immediate coverage and you never know what can happen with the latter. If you are likely to recoup 75% of your investment with routine dental cleanings and exams then any benefit above makes the plan even better financially.