You wouldn''t purchase a car without shopping around. You wouldn''t let your child choose a university that he or she knew nothing about. When it comes to your oral health, why would you not also compare dental insurance plans carefully before committing yourself to a plan?
Too many people make the mistake of not comparing plans before purchasing, only to realize that they should have looked more carefully before their purchase. Here are four tips to help you know what to look for when you compare dental insurance plans.
1. Type of plan
The most common plan types are dental HMOs, dental PPOs, dental indemnity plans, and dental discount plans. HMOs, PPOs, and discount plans are similar in that they restrict your choice of dentist; if you do not choose a dentist within their network, their plan will not pay benefits at all (in the case of an HMO or discount plan), or their plan will reduce your benefit (in the case of a PPO plan).
2. Understanding discount plans
As you compare dental insurance plans, be aware that discount plans are not actually “insurance” in the traditional sense of the word. When you join a dental discount plan, you pay an annual or monthly fee for access to lower-than-normal dental rates. You pay the full amount to the dentist out of pocket, just at a lower rate.
3. Dental insurance that covers orthodontic work
Especially if you are buying a dental insurance plan for your family, you should be aware that not all insurance plans offer coverage for orthodontic work, such as braces and other orthodontic devices. When you compare dental insurance plans, be sure to read the fine print on this topic, especially if you expect that little Johnny will be needing braces.
4. Taking advantage of group insurance rates
The self-employed often lament that they have to buy their own insurance because they receive no employer-provided benefits. However, you should look into group dental insurance plans. In some cases, a professional or fraternal organization you belong to may offer group dental insurance.
These tips are a good place to start in the process of comparing dental insurance plans.