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How to Choose the Right Dental Insurance

Dental insurance is similar in many ways to any other form of health insurance. Yet just like with any plan offered by your employer that covers your general health, you need to pay close attention to the details of each option. Pick the right dental insurance plan for your needs with these hints.

Choose One of the Main Types of Dental Insurance

Most dental insurance plans are either PPO, HMO, or indemnity types. The preferred provider organization (PPO) plan will offer a wider network of dentists to choose from than the other two options. You'll find that these plans take a co-insurance format where you pay for a percentage of treatment cost and the insurance company handles the rest. You can use an out-of-network dentist but at a higher cost.

Health maintenance organization (HMO) insurance plans offer smaller networks of in-network dentists, but they also tend to cost less in monthly premiums. Many HMO plans are focused on preventative care more than coverage for extensive restorative work. These plans are also more likely to exclude specific treatments like dental implants or braces.

Indemnity dental insurance plans are relatively rare. They require you to pay for all dental care at the time of your appointment and then submit claims for compensation from the insurance company. It can provide you with savings on premiums, but you may find there is extra work to determine if a certain treatment is covered or not.

What Will the Insurance Cover?

The majority of dental insurance plans follow a similar pattern of coverage. You'll find that preventative measures like cleanings and X-rays are usually covered 100%, often even without meeting your deductible. Minor treatments like cavity filling are usually covered around 80% after your deductible is met. For more major care like root canals, you can expect around 50% coverage from the dental insurance policy after the deductible. However, you can also find plans with a listed maximum out-of-pocket expense for the year. If you need costly major care over the course of a few months, it can save you from spending thousands, as long as the work is covered.

Look for a Large Network

The size of the network of dentists determines how easy it is to find a specialist in your area. PPO plans tend to offer larger networks, helping you find a cosmetic dentist in Mentor OH instead of traveling out of the area. Even if you stick with an HMO insurance plan to save money, look for the one with the largest network of dentists. This ensures you don't end up going to an out-of-network provider and spend more for your care if you need endodontics, dental implants, or other specialty treatments. Most insurance providers can give you access to their provider lists before you sign up with them so you can search for providers in your local area.

Check Your Favorite Dentists are In-Network

If you already have a dentist in the area that you prefer, you'll need to check with each dental insurance provider to see if they're part of the network. Your dentist's office staff can likely advise you on how to narrow down the options as well. Getting dental insurance that covers both your needs and your current provider preferences is the best way to spend less on your care without having to make any major changes. Of course, choosing a new dental insurance plan can also be a great opportunity to try out a new dentist.

Compare the Costs and Benefits

Don't just compare the benefits of each insurance plan when shopping for dental coverage. Consider the cost as well. For example, you may decide that paying a higher monthly premium is worth a lower deductible and a wider range of covered treatments. Or you might need a policy that covers braces or other orthodontic treatment regardless of the cost or other limitations. Knowing what you need the most out of your dental insurance plan helps you find a policy that balances both cost and benefits. You may find a low cost plan covers all the preventative care you need, allowing you to save money for covering future treatments out of pocket.

Insurance Plans vs. Discount Programs

Standard insurance plans cover some amount of the cost of your treatment, with limitations and considerations. You can also find dental discount programs that are a little simpler. These programs come with a fixed monthly or annual cost and then offer you a range of discounts against the dentist's normal pricing. As with dental insurance, these programs also tend to negotiate lower rates for participating patients. Choosing a discount program could help you save more if you're only finding high deductible or high premium insurance plans in your area.

Choose Great Lakes Dental as your dentist in Mentor. We work with many dental insurance providers and can help you choose a plan that will work for you. Schedule an appointment with our team today or just gives us a call to discuss the insurances we accept.