Whether you need emergency service, or just a routine exam, X-rays and a cleaning, you will find that dental costs have remained relatively flat over the past 30 years. About 108 million people in the U.S. have no dental insurance, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. You need to question the value of the investment and be skeptical of what it will provide when they need it.
In many instances paying for dental care when you can afford it is better than paying for dental insurance every month because the plans you could afford as both a small business owner and employed with a part-time job cost more than routine checkups and close to one-third of the annual benefits you’d receive. Some plans require you to wait a year or more before insurers would pay for major procedures and that it’s highly probable the insurance companies’ networks don’t include your preferred dentist.
Dental insurance premiums vary depending on the number of people the plan covers, the type of plan and the geographic market served, according to Darci Shaw, spokeswoman for Delta Dental Plans Association, which provides dental benefit programs to more than 60 million Americans. Premiums can be as low as $10 a month for an individual enrolled in an HMO-style insurance plan that restricts patients to a specific dentist in a smaller network, or as much as $50 monthly for a preferred provider organization (PPO)-style plan that allows patients to use their choice of dentists in multiple states. Regardless of the plan type, annual benefits are usually capped at $1,500 a year and cosmetic procedures such as veneers aren’t covered.
Dental plans are designed to encourage preventative care and waiting periods and caps on benefits provided help keep premiums low by preventing people from obtaining coverage only when they need major work, then dropping it after the care is completed. A typical employer-sponsored or consumer plan covers 100 percent of the cost of diagnostic exams, teeth cleanings, X-rays and sealants. Group plans often pay most of the cost for fillings, root canals, treatment for gum disease and emergency tooth removals upon enrollment.
People who have insurance for dental care go and seek care more often than those who don’t or [who] save the money to cover the cost because oral health problems seldom get better without treatment and dental health problems may be a sign and a cause of disease elsewhere in the body. Our advice is to make it a priority to know what your plan covers so you can prepare for emergencies and other treatment. When you’re in real pain, you have to do something. You need to have that predictability of knowing that if something happens you wouldn’t have to pay twice as much.
If we can be of service, do not hesitate to contact us.
Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC
290 Carpenter Drive, 200A
Atlanta, GA 30328