With over 45 million Americans still not covered by dental health insurance, dental care remains one of the highest health expenses for most families. Although about 90% of people who have health insurance covered by employer sponsored plans have dental health insurance as well, the majority of Americans still have difficulties meeting their oral care needs and are either dependent on Medicaid, pay out of their own pockets or simply forego taking care of their teeth, because they can not afford to do so.
If you are checking the markets for the most reasonable dental health insurance, a knowledge of what each type of insurance covers will help you make an educated choice. If you are searching for the best dental health insurance for your family, you need to understand the extent of coverage each type of insurance provides.
Here are the most common types of dental insurance you can choose from:
1. Discount Dental Plans
Technically, this is not really a form of dental insurance, because what dental plans do is to encourage people to pay an annual membership fee to the company managing the dental plan. With this membership fee, the insured are allowed to avail of discounted dental services from the company’s roster of dentists. The discounted payment is paid by the patient directly to the dentist, based on the plan’s suggested service fee list.
2. Traditional or Indemnity Dental Insurance Covers
This is sometimes known as a traditional fee-for-service insurance cover, where the insurance company covers certain dental treatments such as preventive oral care, fluoride applications, annual dental check ups, etc. For more complicated and expensive treatments, the coverage will usually range from 50-80% of the cost of the treatment and the patient would have to pay the difference. There is usually a limit set on the amount of coverage and most traditional plans allow you to choose your own dentist.
3. Managed Care
Managed care is getting more popular these days because by paying a monthly premium to a dental health management organization (DHMO), patients can go to the dentists who belong to the DHMO for all their dental treatment needs (as indicated on the dental plan) within the time set on the insurance policy.
Most of the frequently availed of dental treatments such as cleanings, annual check ups, x-rays are provided free to the patient, while other more expensive dental procedures such as implants, bridges, and root canals would require the patient to pay for the difference. This may seem more beneficial than the traditional type of dental health insurance plans, but the only downside with DHMOs is you can only avail of the services of the dentists recommended by them.
4. Dental Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO)
This type of dental health insurance is similar in some ways with a DHMO, in that the insured must select from a panel of dentists accredited by the PPO. However, you are also given the freedom to choose your own dental health provider, who may not be in the panel of dentists. You may have to pay higher co-payments and deductibles than you would have if you are just using the PPO accredited dentists.
When choosing your dental health insurance plan, know what kind of insurance coverage is being offered, what the premium costs will be and whether you can choose your own dentist or not. You can check the websites of insurance companies offering dental insurance and make comparisons with the benefits that each one provides. Keep yourself informed and read the fine print of the insurance policy so that you can understand the extent of your coverage.