Jaycee Brown

Jaycee Brown

Director of Communications

What to be Aware of in Dental Insurance Plans

Dental insurance provides coverage on treatments. However, many types of plans exist on the market. Before enrolling into a plan, patients should research waiting periods and benefits of each insurance plan.
Since some dental insurance companies have waiting periods, people should decide whether to get insurance soon (Sage 2017). While insurance may cover some services, such as cleanings, at the outset, “Basic procedures may have a three to 6 month waiting period, and ‘Major’ procedures may have a 6 month to 1-year waiting period” before insurance covers them (Sage 2017). Waiting periods discourage people from getting insurance for coverage on many treatments “and then later just drop the dental insurance after the dental insurance policy has expired” (Sage 2017). Fortunately, according to Bobbie Sage, a “Personal Insurance Guide,” during waiting periods, people may pay for their insurance at lower costs (2017). Even so, buying insurance earlier would allow people to finish waiting periods sooner in order to receive coverage on expensive treatments in the future.
Different dental insurance plans have their advantages and disadvantages. For instance, Dental Health Maintenance Organizations (DHMOs) “have the lowest premiums of all dental insurance plans” and “usually don’t have an annual maximum,” but require people to go to dentists in their networks (“What are the different types of dental plans?”). Though, “Some DMOS allow consumers to opt out of the network at the time of service. If you ‘opt out’ you pay more of the cost of dental services yourself” (“What are the different types of dental plans?”). Dental Preferred Provider Organizations (DPPOs) “have higher premiums than DHMOS” and “maximum amounts they will pay toward your claims for dental services each year,” usually around $1,000 annually (Lewis 2016; “What are the different types of dental plans?”). Furthermore, PPOs approximately “[pay] 100% of preventative services, 80% of basic restorative care like fillings, and 50% of major restorative care” (Shaw 2013, 2). DPPOs allow patients to go to dentists outside their network, but at less coverage (“What are the different types of dental plans?”). In contrast to DHMOs, “DPPOs usually allow dentists to spend more time with insured patients. Dentists in dental HMO insurance plans are expected to see a certain number of patients, so some dentists have been known to rush through dental appointments” (“Dental Insurance Decisions”). Meanwhile, “Dental Indemnity Plans have the highest premiums of any dental insurance plan,” but people “can go to any dentist for dental services” (“What are the different types of dental plans?”).
People should also consider factors, such as “The annual premium,” “The cost of the dental care you need,” “Your policy’s limit on how much it pays out in benefits and whether you can roll over unused benefits from the previous year,” and “Policy coverage” (Lewis 2016). Gina Shaw, a writer for WebMD, advises people to consider their preferred dentists in relation to dental insurance plans that they accept (2013, 2).
After investigating waiting periods, different insurance plans, and other factors, people could make informed decisions regarding dental insurance.

“Dental Insurance Decisions.” DentalPlans.com. Accessed August 9, 2017.
Lewis, Marilyn. “Is dental insurance worth the cost?” CBS News, October 18, 2016.
Sage, Bobbie. “Dental Insurance Waiting Period.” The Balance. Last modified February 2, 2017.
Shaw, Gina. “What Kind of Dental Coverage Do You Need?” WebMD, December 17, 2013.
“What are the different types of dental plans?” National Association of Dental Plans. Accessed
August 9, 2017. http://www.nadp.org/Dental_Benefits_Basics/Dental_BB_2.aspx.
Information on Gina Shaw: http://www.webmd.com/gina-shaw
Information on Bobbie Sage: https://www.thebalance.com/bobbie-sage-2645364


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