Maintaining your oral health is essential to a healthy lifestyle. Most people want to make the commitment to improve their oral health, but have a hard time choosing between traditional dental insurance and a dental discount program.
Therefore it's important to understand how the differences between dental insurance and dental discount programs can affect you.
Dental insurance policies can be typically characterized by monthly premiums, deductibles and annual maximums while dental discount programs are designed to be as accessible as possible; they do not share any of the characteristics of dental insurance.
The monthly premiums for typical dental insurance policies may be as much as $50 a month for individuals and in excess of $100 per month for family plans.
As an alternative, dental discount programs are far less expensive. Dental discount programs start as low as $6.95 per month for individuals, $11.95 per month for couples and $15.95 per month for families. In addition, if you shop around you can find dental discount plans that include free vision care.
Usually, people using dental insurance must meet a deductible before their dental insurance starts to cover their dental care; when making comparisons it's therefore important to consider the cost of the deductible as one of the overall costs associated with dental insurance.
Annual deductibles typically vary from $50 to $100 per covered individual; it is difficult to put an actual cost on the deductible because it depends on the specific dental insurance policy owned.
Dental discount programs do not have deductibles. Instead, dental discount program members pay a membership fee that qualifies them to pay discounted rates at participating dentists at the time services are rendered.
Most dental insurance plans cap the amount of reimbursement to an annual maximum that is typically $1,000 to $1,500 per year. The insured person is then responsible for any costs over and above the annual maximum.
Dental discount programs do not have annual maximums. Program members are able to use their discount dental cards as often and as much as they want to. There is absolutely no limit to the amount of money members can save by using their dental discount program.
People with dental insurance policies often moan about the time-consuming red tape they are forced to face, including the need to provide written claims, exclusions on pre-existing conditions and the excessive waiting periods for major procedures.
As an alternative, easy to use dental discount programs are designed to save member's time as well as money!
Nearly all dental insurance policies require policyholders to go through a tedious and very time consuming written claims process, every time they have a claim!
There is no such tedious paperwork and hassles for dental discount cardholders; discount dental program members simply present their membership card to a participating provider at the time of service to receive their discounts.
Dental insurance plans will often either refuse to cover certain procedures or impose a long waiting period.
If you are considering dental insurance you need to be aware that many dental insurance policies have exclusions on pre-existing conditions and may require up to as much as a 18 month waiting period before paying for any major dental treatment.
As an alternative, dental discount programs are free of such limitations and become active almost immediately, allowing program members to join and start saving on their dental care as quickly as possible. Further, dental discount programs offer significant savings on dental specialties, such as orthodontics and teeth whitening, while most dental insurance policies rarely cover such procedures.
The escalating cost of dental insurance makes dental insurance inaccessible to a large number of individuals and families.
Very cost-effective dental discount programs are accessible to individuals, families and businesses as an alternative to costly traditional dental insurance.
Dental discount programs are also an easy and flexible way for businesses to save time and money on valuable dental care for their employees.
Despite the differences between traditional dental insurance and dental discount programs, some of them can even be used together in certain situations to maximize savings.
To summarize, dental discount programs are an affordable and easy to use alternative to traditional dental insurance and offer program members substantial savings on most dental procedures.
Although it's impossible to accurately compare the costs of traditional dental insurance with dental discount programs, I have estimated a comparison based on a family of four.
Typical dental insurance would carry a premium cost of around $1200 per annum while a dental discount program would cost around $192 in annual membership fees.
Assuming 4 oral exams, 4 teeth cleanings, 1 root canal and 1 extraction over the course of a year the standard dentist's bill would be around $1184. With traditional insurance the actual cost to the policyholder would be the deductible or approximately $200. With a dental discount program the dentist's bill would be around $465, all of which would be payable by the discount card member.
The bottom line makes interesting reading; the total cost using traditional dental insurance would be approximately $1400 (annual premiums plus deductible); the total cost with a discount dental program would be approximately $657 (annual membership fee plus the actual cost at the dentist).
Is it any wonder that around 30 million Americans (about 10% of the population) are now using dental discount cards?
Food for thought I think!!