Understanding What You Get and Whether It’s Worth It to Buy
November is a big month full of big events, starting with elections and ending with many people’s favorite holiday. Dental insurance benefits and costs might be very low on your list of things to think about, but this is the time to do it for a couple of important reasons:
- If you’re currently covered, you’ll want to use the benefits you can before you lose them at the end of the year, and
- It’s time to decide what to do about next year.
Knowing and Using Your Dental Insurance Benefits & Costs
If you bought insurance this year, time is running out to use it! Here are some things to think about before plans reset at the end of the year:
- Have you paid all or part of your deductible? If you’ve had dental work done and paid your deductible but have not maxed out your coverage, give us a call or make an appointment to check whether or not you’ll need any further care before the end of the year.
- Have you used your preventative care benefits? Annual x-rays and semi-annual cleanings are almost always covered. If you haven’t had your second cleaning or any x-rays this year, call us as soon as possible to be sure you can schedule an appointment and come in before January!
- Are the dental insurance benefits worth the costs of the premiums paid? Now is a good time to use your math skills. Add up the cost of monthly premiums and copays for services during the year and weigh that total against what the same services – including your preventative care – would have cost without the coverage. Now you can make a more informed decision about whether or not to renew your coverage.
Considerations for Buying or Renewing Dental Insurance
Although it seems like it should be the same as regular health insurance, dental insurance benefits and costs are quite different. Here are some important things to know before making your decision:
- Read the fine print for coverage exclusions and waiting periods. In many cases, plans have a broad definition of pre-existing conditions that will not be covered, and there is often a waiting period before certain dental procedures will be eligible for coverage. It can be six months or even a year before coverage kicks in! There can also be restrictions on the number of times something like a crown or implant will be covered.
- Check the network. Out of network providers might not be covered, or covered at a lower percentage. Don’t make any commitments without giving us a call to make sure we’re in the plan.
- Understand the yearly maximum coverage. The annual dental insurance benefit amounts are much lower than regular health insurance covers. After you meet your deductible, the average you can usually expect plans to cover is about $1500 per year.
- Check the copays. Once your deductible is met, most plans still require copays of 50-80% depending on the provider and the service.
Your November To-Do List
During November, we hope you’ll add these important items to your to-do list:
- Evaluate your current plan (if you have one) and identify any remaining dental insurance benefits you should try to use before the end of the year.
- Compare actual or estimated costs with and without insurance to help you decide if dental insurance will be helpful to you and your family.
- As always, keep your family vigilant with preventative dental hygiene at home.
- If you haven’t had your second cleaning and annual x-rays for the year yet, schedule asap!
- Remember, whether you have insurance or not, we’re here to help you manage the costs of dental care.
We hope this helps you evaluate dental insurance benefits and costs! No matter what, we’re happy to hear from you any time with questions or requests.