With all of the fuss made over health plans, it’s easy to forget that there are two components of our health that, as a rule, aren’t covered by your main health plan, and that’s vision and dental. In most cases, those two coverages are offered through different carriers, like VSP and Delta Dental, as respective examples, and need to be purchased separately.
We’re going to steer clear of vision for now and focus rather on your teeth and those of your family, if you have one. By the time you finish reading, you will have a good idea as to the sort of dental plan that’s right for you, and that’s wise, since if you don’t care for your teeth, they will break up with you and leave you.
Choosing a good health plan is just as important as choosing the right dentist
How’s Your Mouth?
A strange, intrusive question, perhaps, but a necessary one. Do you have a history of dental issues? For instance, how many fillings and crowns do you have? Let’s say that, as a child, you had a bunch of dental work done, cavities filled, perhaps a crown or two replaced, maybe even a root canal. Despite what you may think, those issues are not completely dead.
As the years go by and you age, all of that work in your mouth ages as well. There you are, an adult in his or her forties, at a summer barbecue, eating a grilled sausage, when BAM! Suddenly, you bite down on the tiniest hard fragment of something in the sausage, and down goes that filling you had when you were thirteen years old.
Everyone’s mouth is different. Some people, for instance, are more prone to plaque than others, and require an extra cleaning every year. So, bottom line, if you tend to rely on dentists a lot, make sure the plan has ample coverage for fillings, oral surgery and yes, preventative care.
Two Main Plan Types
When it comes to plan types, you usually have two options, according to the article “Dental Health Plans FAQ”. There’s the fee for service, or indemnity plan, which obliges you to pay the dentist (whichever dentist you want) up front for services rendered, and the insurance company pays you back whatever percentage has been agreed upon. The second plan is the Dental Health Maintenance Organization, which consists of a group of dental professionals under one banner, and the insurance company pays them directly for services. This latter plan tends to be cheaper, though you have to choose from one of the plan’s approved dentists.
If you have a family, then there’s the likelihood of one or more of your kids needing braces. That means orthodontia, which some would swear is a Greek word meaning “You’re going broke now”. Whatever plan you shop for, if you have children you should make sure that it offers orthodontics coverage.
But even after the kids get beyond braces, there is always the next step in the rite of passage to adulthood: wisdom teeth, a fun activity which usually occurs sometime between the late teens and mid – twenties. Depending on whether or not they’re impacted, there’s the likelihood of mouth surgery.
Final Note: You Better Shop Around!
Many companies have a benefits fair where you can choose various kinds of insurance (health, disability, life, and yes, dental). It’s not unusual for companies to have an arrangement set up with one dental plan carrier, and offer it to their employees, usually at a discounted rate.
But ultimately, that choice is yours, and if you don’t like the plan your company offers, you don’t have to take it. A Google search will reveal a host of tools that you can use to comparison shop for dental insurance. Check out articles like “How Do You Save Money On Health Insurance?” for more inspiration.
Photo Credit: mich225
Kimberley Laws is a regular contributor to HowDoYou.com and the author of two blogs, The Embiggens Project and Searching for Barry Weiss. A "Jill of all trades," she is a High School English Teacher and Certified Career Counselor with a background in makeup artistry, retail banking, and graphic design. She is also a scrapbooking, PEZ-collecting, car enthusiast who loves travelling and New York City.
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