Dental care is not cheap! Dental procedures have always been expensive and in the past few years, dental fees are reported to have gone up by 20%.
A lot of people shy away from regular checkups, or preventative dental care because of the exorbitant fees of dentists. The attempt to save money doesn’t work, as disregarding regular treatment and care almost always results in greater complications and pricier procedures later.
To maintain your oral health and not go broke simultaneously, you can make the decision of investing in either dental insurance plans or a dental discount plan. Though the two are significantly distinct from each other, a lot of people find it difficult to differentiate between the two.
Before opting for either one of the plans, understand the unique offerings of the two and choose the one that gives you maximum coverage and savings.
What are Dental Insurance Plans?
Dental insurance plans are designed to make dental care affordable to the masses. Typically, dental insurance providers negotiate with a few dentists to charge lower prices for services to customers holding their insurance. Providers have a whole network of such dentists, and if you choose to go to these particular dentists, the insurance provider covers a part of the lower charge themselves. The patient has to pay the rest out of their own pocket.
Usually, dental insurance covers 100% of preventative care such as dental checkups, x-rays, and dental cleanings, 80% of basic dental work like tooth fillings and extraction, and only 50% of the major dental procedures like dentures, root canals, etc. The percentage of the fee not covered by the insurance provider is the responsibility of the patient.
Different dental plans have different features, which is why it is necessary to study them before choosing so you don’t choose one that won’t be of much use to you. With dental insurance, you have to think about what the annual premium is, and if it is affordable for you given your circumstances. There are long waiting times for procedures with insurance because they have to get approved first, which means it might be tricky in an emergency. Lastly, factor in what how much you will be saving based on your dental needs and expected co-payments.
What are Dental Discount Plans?
Dental Discount Plans, on the other hand, are as simple as discounted dental services. Also known as dental savings plans, dental discount plans offer discounts on whatever treatment you choose to undergo at that particular dentist’s office. Most discount plans are offered by the dental offices themselves, but there are some offered by companies dedicated to providing this service. It works almost in the same way except that instead of an insurance company paying for you, you make the payments yourself directly.
You are required to purchase a membership card and, from then on, you present the card to them at every occasion you need any dental-related service, and you get a discount. Discounts may vary from 10-60% of the total costs.
Dental discount plans are pretty hassle free and usually do not require interference of any other company; you pay the discounted price yourself. Again, how much you save and how useful the plan proves to you depends on your individual dental needs.