Dental insurance is something we all should have, but most of us don’t. Plus, who want sto go to the dentist? It’s scary sitting in that chair, waiting for the assistant to come in and then all the noise, scraping, and weird tools they use on your teeth.
Even if you have an emotional fear of the dentist, the reality is that dentists can find all sorts of health problems before they become serious. For example, a dentist can prevent plaque from causing gum disease.
That gum disease can turn into other serious health problems too, like diabetes, cancer, or heart disease.
Keeping your mouth clean, and bacteria from becoming pathogenic, means that you’ll have a better shot of living to a ripe old age without serious health problems – all because you went in for a simple cleaning.
Now, about that insurance:
Should You get a PPO?
A PPO is a “preferred provider organization.” These plans consist of a network of dentists who all agree to provide dental services for set fees. The insurance company manages the organization and the number of services covered depends on the plan you choose.
Guardian Life Dental insurance would be an example of such an arrangement.
When you sign up for a plan, you choose the deductible and copay options that you think best fit your situation and finances. The actual services covered under the plan are divided into two basic groups: in-network and out-of-network coverage.
For in-network coverage, you either receive more services, cheaper services, or a combination of both. Typically, in-network benefits will be similar to, or the same as, out of network benefits. the real difference is in the price or cost of those services.
As you might guess, the in-network coverage is cheaper. That’s because this represents the dentists who have agreed to charge the same price for their services.
When you move out of network, you are not covered under this arrangement, so prices may be higher among different densities. The insurer is still willing to cover you, but that coverage is usually more expense, owing to the fact that there is no fixed fee for the insurance company.
These plans are best if you know you will mostly stay in-network, and you can find a dentist in that network that’s near you and that you like.
Should You Get a DHMO?
A dental health maintenance organization (DHMO) also relies on a network of dentists to provide coverage at a set price. However, unlike a PPO, the DHMO operates more like prepaid medical service rather than insurance.
Each month, dentists are paid a set fee to provide covered dental services to you whether you actually go to the dentist or not. In this way, the dentist is assured payment for services, and you are assured coverage.
Insurance companies know that not everyone will use their dentist every month, which makes this a great deal for dentists. It also makes it a great deal if you plan on visiting the dentist more often than most people throughout the year.
Some services may even be offered to you at no cost.
DHMOs seem like a great deal, but they can also be expensive, especially over time. If the dentists in the plan all agree to increase their fee, or if too many people use serves too often, your insurance rates may climb dramatically.
On the other hand, if other people in the plan do not use dental services excessively, insurance premiums may remain reasonable.
Should You Get A Discount Or Referral Plan?
Discount plans aren’t insurance, but they sure do feel like it sometimes. A discount plan works by contracting with dentists, similar to PPOs and DHMOs. But, this is where the similarities end.
Discount service providers negotiate lower fees with dentists and you pay cash at the dentist’s office for those services. There are no insured services. Instead, you use the 3rd party service provider to help you negotiate directly with the dentist.
This option is perfect if you don’t use dental services often, but want to save money on them when you do.
You’ll always pay for services out of pocket, but these services are usually cheaper than what you would pay if you purchased an insurance policy but used covered services infrequently.
Some people also opt to supplement insurance with a discount plan, since these plans sometimes offer discounts on services not covered by insurance. Discount programs can also make deductibles cheaper if you have a high-deductible plan.
Harvey Mitchell has worked in the medical insurance industry for 10 years. He knows how medical bills can cause people to lose sleep and wants to help more people know their options hence article writing. His articles appear on both health and fitness sites and personal finance blogs.