If you’re like most people, you want to know how to get the most bang for your buck. Perhaps that’s why do-it-yourself (DIY) videos are so popular. You get what you need done and at a fraction of the cost. DIY dental work, however, is not something we would ever recommend. So how can you get the dental care you need, and at a price you’re comfortable with?
Take advantage of your dental insurance!
If you already have dental insurance, make sure you take advantage of the preventive and diagnostic services it offers. Routine dental checkups can detect a multitude of things, such as tooth decay and gum disease, which are easier and much cheaper to treat in early stages. Taking care of yourself now versus later is always a smart health and financial move.
Another way to keep your dental insurance costs low is by making sure you visit an in-network provider. If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, or if you recently signed up for a new dental insurance policy, check that your dentist is in-network before scheduling a checkup.
Do I need dental insurance?
Ask yourself this. Really think about it. Dental insurance doesn’t make sense for everyone. You might be accustomed to the idea that dental insurance is essential, but that isn’t necessarily true. It’s not medical insurance, after all. Weigh how much you pay for dental insurance against how much it saves you. You might be surprised to find out that it’s an upside-down investment for you personally.
How can I get affordable dental insurance?
If dental insurance does make sense for you, a great way to get it affordably is through your employer. Group dental policies have significantly more affordable premiums than individual dental insurance but – unless your employer picks up the cost of the dental insurance plan – you may find that you don’t save money with dental insurance. Sure, routine things like dental cleanings, oral exams, and x-rays are usually covered at 100%, but what if you need a big ticket item, like a couple of root canals? Considering most dental insurance plans that have an annual maximum cap coverage at no more than $1,500, you’re going to be paying out of pocket plus paying the premiums on your insurance policy.
If a group dental policy is not an option, and you’re determined to have dental coverage, there are two basic types of dental insurance to choose from — a dental HMO plan and a dental PPO plan.
How can I get lower monthly premiums on dental insurance?
If you want dental insurance that has a low monthly premium, look into a dental HMO plan. You’ll find that dental HMO plans are usually the least expensive dental insurance option, plus you’ll pay little or nothing for preventive and diagnostic care. A potential downside to a dental HMO plan, however, is if you need major dental work. The dental insurance company isn’t going to pay anything toward your cost of care the way a dental PPO plan will because dental HMO plans do not have an annual maximum.
How can I get lower out-of-pocket expenses?
Dental PPO plans have higher monthly premiums than dental HMO plans do, but you’ll also pay less when visiting the dentist. This could be a more affordable dental insurance option if you need major dental work done. Plus, the annual maximum on dental PPO plans resets every year, so you could possibly spread your dental work out over time for additional savings.
Less-costly alternatives to dental insurance
If neither of the above options is appealing to you, or you’ve rethought your stance on dental insurance being essential, check out a dental savings plan. It’s also commonly referred to as a dental discount plan because it offers discounts of 10% to 60% on most dental procedures, including things dental insurance won’t cover.
A dental savings plan works like a paid club membership. After enrolling in the dental savings plan of your choice and paying the annual membership fee, you get access to a network of dental professionals who have agreed to charge a discounted rate. You simply pay the dentist directly; there’s no insurance company involved.
In many ways, a dental savings plan is the best of both worlds because it has:
- No waiting periods
- No deductibles
- No annual maximums
- No insurance claims paperwork
Plus, you’ll enjoy discounts in all of the following dental areas:
- Oral surgery
Affordable dental coverage
Whether it is through a group dental policy, an individual dental HMO plan, an individual dental PPO plan, a discount savings plan, or a combination of dental insurance and a dental savings plan, the important thing is that you show your teeth and gums the care they need. Take some time to research the options we’ve covered to find the one that gives you the most bang for your buck.