Dental insurance does not get the attention that health insurance does, but it is equally as important to your overall health to maintain good dental care. If you have dental insurance, you likely have noticed that your plan options, coverage limits, and provider list are very different from that of your health insurance.
Dental insurance plans vary and some seem like they don’t offer much in the way of coverage. So how do you know if you are getting the most out of the coverage that you are paying for? Put together by a dental insurance agency in Lubbock, Texas, here are some pointers that can help you save time and money.
Make Sure you Have the Right Plan
It’s open enrollment season, which is a great time to review your dental insurance and make sure you have the right plan for your needs. Dental insurance is offered as an HMO and a PPO:
- HMO – Lower premiums, no deductible or benefit maximums. You pay a fixed copay price for treatment. Your choice of providers is incredibly limited. In some states, up to 90% of dentists do not participate in HMO plans.
- PPO – You owe a monthly premium and have a deductible you must meet before your insurance will pay. Deductibles are usually low. You may have an annual maximum benefit amount, meaning that there may be a limit on how much your insurance will pay in a single year.
Part of deciding if you have the right plan is assessing your dental needs. If you only need routine maintenance, then a plan that covers routine or preventative care and has higher out-of-pocket costs for additional care may be fine. However, if you need oral surgery, braces, or other treatments you may need a plan that has more coverage and more providers.
Stay in Network
One of the best ways to save money and maximize what you get out of your dental insurance is to stay in network when you receive any type of care. Your insurance plan will offer the most coverage for providers who are in-network. That means less out-of-pocket costs for you.
Be Aware of Timing
Because many dental insurance policies have limits for how much they cover in a year, you may find it helpful to schedule your procedures accordingly. If your dentist recommends two crowns, but your insurance only covers the cost of one, then schedule your other crown procedure for the following year after your plan rolls over. Work with your dentist to time your procedures and schedule the most important care first.
The price for dental treatments can vary between two dentists – even two in the same region or town. With this in mind, you may find it helpful to shop around and get a second opinion and quote on your dental care needs. You could save money by using a different dentist for certain procedures.
Find a Discount Plan
If you don’t have dental insurance, or your coverage limits are low, look for dental discount plans. These plans are not insurance, but they provide access to discounted services with certain dentists, or for certain procedures. These services are offered at a discounted cash price. Sometimes you can save 20-30 percent on a procedure.
Talk to an Independent Insurance Agent
If you are not sure which dental plan is best for you, or you have questions about maximizing your benefits, talk to an independent insurance agent. An independent agent is someone who works for you to find the best insurance options available at a price you can afford. Working with an agent can also help ensure that you have the right coverage and that you understand your out-of-pocket responsibilities.