Additionally, a 2016 American Dental Association study found that “more than one in three adults ages 19 through 64 with private dental benefits do not have a single dental claim within the year.” Why are so many people not using their dental coverage? Some are afraid of the dentist, some feel they don’t have the time for checkups and cleanings, others simply can’t afford to get dental care despite having insurance.
Dental Insurance Annual Maximums
The problem for many is that most dental insurance plans have an annual maximum of a shockingly low $1000-$1500. This amount hasn’t changed since the 1970s, while the cost of dental care itself has risen steadily over the decades.
Routine checkups are usually covered 100% on most insurance plans, but what if you need a root canal and a crown? Just one of these procedures can exhaust your annual dental budget in one visit to the dentist. If you need additional treatments to save your teeth, you can quickly be responsible for thousands in out-of-pocket dental expenses.
Obamacare And Dental Coverage
Adult dental insurance hasn’t become more inexpensive in recent years, despite the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), perhaps better known as Obamacare. The ACA Is primarily concerned with children’s oral hygiene, which is listed as an essential health benefit under the ACA. This means that insurance providers must offer dental coverage for ACA plans – such as family policies – that provide coverage to anyone under 19 years of age.That doesn’t mean you have to purchase dental insurance for your children, simply that it must be available for you to purchase should you chose to do so. Sadly, dental insurance is not an essential benefit for adults. So many adults who need dental care are still unable to obtain it.
How can I get more affordable dental insurance?
As mentioned earlier, one-third of those with dental coverage aren’t using it. Some may think that putting off using their dental benefits until it’s absolutely necessary is more cost effective, but that’s not true. Routine visits can actually help lower the risk of future dental problems, as well as their associated costs. Like the old adage says, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. As with anything else, early detection is key. Visiting the dentist early on when a toothache arises could mean the difference between simply having a cavity filled, versus having a root canal. And considering that most dental insurance policies fully cover two basic checkups,(with a cleaning and x-rays) taking advantage of your allotted routine visits is in your best interest.
Oral health and general health
Furthermore, the link between overall health and dental health is becoming more and more evident. Research has found correlations between poor oral health and heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, respiratory infections and Alzheimer’s disease, among other series conditions. Taking care of your oral health is critical to maintaining your overall health.
Alternatives to dental insurance
Visiting the dentist is important but dental insurance isn’t the right solution for everyone. For those who are looking for a less-restrictive, more affordable alternative to dental insurance there are dental savings plans, sometimes referred to as dental discount plans.
Dental savings plans unlock access to a network of dental professionals who have agreed to provide dental care to members at a discounted rate. Members simply pay the pre-negotiated discounted rate – 15%-60% less than the dentist’s typical rates – directly to the dentist. No worries about what treatments are and aren’t covered, restrictions on pre-existing conditions, or annual spending limits. It couldn’t be easier – you simply get the care you need, when you need it, at a fixed price that you know before you get to the dentist’s office.
Affordable dental care in the U.S.
The bottom line is that oral health is important, yet millions of Americans are still struggling to afford dental coverage, get access to it, or to simply understand how vital it is to their overall wellbeing. if you have dental insurance but haven’t booked an appointment in quite some time, give your dentist a call. If you don’t have access to an affordable dental insurance plan, look into a dental savings plan. You’ll find it’s a flexible alternative to insurance that may work well for you.