Visiting the dentist does more than keeping your smile bright. Regular teeth cleanings and exams improve your overall health, while treatment for cavities and periodontal infection protect you from serious disease. Whether you’re committed to oral care or have a large family, dental insurance can help you save on preventive care and procedures. If you’re thinking about purchasing a plan, learn more below about the most common limitations and benefits.
A Beginner’s Guide to Dental Insurance
1. It’s Different Than Medical Insurance
Most people use their health insurance when they get sick. In contrast, dental coverage is designed to prevent injury and illness. Most plans will cover up to 100% of cleanings, checkups, and X-rays. If you need a restorative procedure, you will likely pay something out of pocket.
2. There Are Various Policy Types
There are three basic types of dental insurance plans. These include PPO, HMO, and Indemnity. A PPO plan will not require you to see a certain provider in your coverage network. However, you will pay more if you go out-of-network. If you have an HMO, you must choose from a short list of approved providers. While your options are limited, you will usually pay less for services than if you select a PPO.
Indemnity plans give you the most freedom. You can choose any provider you want since there is no in-network or out-of-network designation. However, you will pay more per year than if you go with a PPO or HMO.
3. It Covers Specific Services
In addition to full coverage for preventive care, you will get up to 80% off the regular price of services like dental fillings. In most cases, you’ll pay around 50% for more involved treatments like dental crowns, bridges, and implants. Refer to your specific plan for the cost breakdown.
4. Some Procedures Aren’t Covered
Most policies do not help with cosmetic services like braces, teeth whitening, or veneers. If you have a pre-existing condition, it may also be excluded from coverage. Ask your dentist about your finance options for these types of procedures, including payment plans.
5. Most Plans Have Maximum Limits
With dental insurance, you won’t be able to receive an unlimited amount of treatments. Nearly every type of coverage has an annual maximum. For instance, if your cap is $1,500, you will only receive benefits up to that amount. After you reach the limit, you will have to pay out of pocket.
6. A final way to pay less is to ask your dental provider, or your potential Dental office if they have their own Membership Plan. This is a great alternative for those that do not have “Dental Insurance”. These plans commonly give a discount for cleaning exams because they are pre-paid or are monthly paid by electronic funds with a credit card or a bank account. They also offer discounts on all or most services that you may need from you providing dentist. What does the dentist get from offering this discount? Loyalty, because the plan cannot be used at other locations. Black Diamond Dentistry has such a membership plan through a company named Kleer that sets up plans administratively.
Now that you know the basics, you can make the right treatment choices for your health. Locally owned and operated Black Diamond Dentistry of King County, WA, accepts a variety of insurance plans and will take the time to explain how much you’re paying for each service. If you live in the Black Diamond and Maple Valley Area and want to make a dentist appointment, call their friendly team at (360) 886-1300. For information about their general dentistry services, visit their website.