Dental insurance is great and makes dental care for your family much more affordable. But it doesn’t cover everything. Most packages are designed to encourage preventative care. Many cover basic or major restorative services at least partially, say 50 to 80% — a chunk of change on a $600 to $1000 procedure. Yet the quality of the insurance and what and how much it covers can vary greatly from package to package. Here’s what you need to understand about dental insurance and how to get the best coverage bang for your buck.
Types of Care Covered
Most packages cover preventative care like checkups and cleanings 100%. So if you have dental insurance, it’s important that you use these benefits. Aside from being critical to dental health, you’re basically throwing money away if you don’t use these services.
Your dental package will also likely cover basic and major restorative care — but only partially. Basic care — fillings, extractions, and re-cementing of previous crowns and bridges — is typically around 80%. Major care such as crowns, bridges, implants, and root canals are typically covered about 50%. Actual rates can vary according to the insurance. Yes, dental care can still be substantial even if you have insurance, but the cost can be ⅕ to ½ of what you’d pay out-of-pocket without it.
PPO vs. HMO
Like health care, dental insurance plans can be PPO or HMO. HMO limits who you can see according to the dental network covered by the insurance. PPO lets you choose whichever Cincinnati dentist you wish regardless of network. Most dental plans are PPO. HMO does have its advantages, however, since the cost can be considerably less. Office visits tend to be less expensive — about $5 to $10 — and there’s no coverage limit — a huge bonus if you need a lot of dental care.
Family Plans are Cheaper Overall
If you’ve got a family, getting a family dental plan is by far the more affordable way to go. There are big savings when you insure by the herd. Under family dental insurance, everyone insured is under one group. The bigger your group is, the more you save on premiums, deductibles, and other expenses. It’s a much cheaper way to go than paying for several individual plans.
Even under family dental plans, most companies will allow you to customize coverage for each family member. Each family can choose their dentist, as well as the specifics of their package. If you have a family member that might need more care soon than others, you can sometimes modify their policy accordingly.
Don’t plan on getting a bunch of work done the first month you have a dental plan. Many dental plans have waiting periods. Preventive care is usually covered immediately, or at least in the first 30 days. Basic restorative care tends to kick in after 3 months, major restorative care after 6 months. It’s best to read the details of your policy, call an agent or sit down with your Cincinnati dentist.