As you shop for the ideal dental insurance plan for yourself and your family, you might be keeping a budget in mind. But, like so many other things in life, you get what you pay for when it comes to this type of insurance.
In addition to looking at what your out-of-pocket costs will be, it’s also wise to look at the details of a plan to figure out if you’re going to get the right amount of support.
After all, the more coverage your dental insurance plan gives you, the more money you’ll be able to save every time you need to see the dentist, whether it’s for a basic cleaning, a filling, orthodontics, or a major service like an implant.
How much money can you, generally, expect to save when shopping for plans by their price? We cover the basics below. But remember that the only way to know exactly what you’re signing up for is by reading through a plan’s details carefully.
Also, keep in mind that the plans used as examples below might not be available in all areas and costs also vary by location. Examples are only meant to give you an idea of what you can get at each tier of coverage.
You can find dental plans with monthly premiums that are less than $50! But this typically means that you’ll have higher out-of-pocket costs and/or a lower annual maximum because the insurance won’t cover as much.
Here is an example:
• Magnum Dental’s Online Individual 1000 plan covers 100% preventive care, up to 80% of basic care, and up to 50% of major services and orthodontics for kids and adults. The maximum benefit for this plan is $1,000. On the other hand, by paying a little more per month, you can get the same type of coverage with a $3,000 max benefit.
Paying a bit more per month means you can get even better coverage for all your dental care needs. At the same time, “middle-of-the-road” premiums can get you surprisingly good coverage without breaking the bank!
More good news? These plans often have higher annual maximums! This means that even if you need to undergo expensive treatments, you will receive a good amount of coverage that can help dramatically reduce your out-of-pocket costs.
Here are some examples:
• The Denali Dental PEAK plan gives you an annual maximum benefit of up to $6,000. It covers 80% of basic and preventive care, along with up to 60% of major services, but there isn’t any coverage for orthodontics. If you pay a bit more per month and opt for their SUMMIT plan, however, you’ll still enjoy the same max benefit, along with 100% preventive care, up to 90% basic care, up to 60% for major services, and $500 per year for orthodontics.
• Spirit Dental’s Network 750/1000/1250 plan covers 100% preventive care, up to 80% of basic care, and up to 50% of major services. The graduating annual maximum starts at $750 in year one but reaches $1250 in year three, giving you a greater value and rewarding you for staying on the plan.
If you know that you’ll need to pay for a lot of expensive dental treatments, perhaps because you’ve always battled cavities or your kids will need braces, these premium, high-coverage level plans might be right for you.
With these plans, you’ll pay more each month but the insurance will step in and cover more of the cost of your care.
Here are some examples:
• The Denali SUMMIT plan covers 100% of preventive services, up to 90% of basic, and up to 60% of major services. The plan starts at $1,200 annual max benefit and increases up to $6,000 in the fourth year. The SUMMIT plan also offers ortho coverage for both adults and children, as well as child only plans, without any waiting periods.
• The Spirit Dental Spirit Choice 3500 plan gives you a $3,500 max benefit, along with 100% coverage for preventive care, up to 90% coverage for basic procedures, up to 65% coverage for major services, and up to 50% for orthodontic care. Plus, you get the freedom to choose your own dentist, and there aren’t any waiting periods (even for major services!)
While searching for plans, you may notice that the monthly premium a plan has might be affected by how much flexibility you have when choosing your dentist.
Looking for the greatest cost savings? Choose a network plan. Network dental insurance plans require you to choose a dentist from their network of providers. These plans usually come with the benefit of lower out-of-pocket costs. When you see a network provider, those providers have agreed to a lower negotiated rate, which helps you save money.
On the other hand, a plan that gives you complete control over choosing your dentist might cost more per month, and you might also have other higher out-of-pocket costs. But if you have a dentist that you really like, and you want to be sure you can keep seeing that dentist, the extra cost might be worthwhile.
Keeping your monthly budget, as well as your dental care needs, in mind as you search for dental insurance is a smart way to figure out which plan will be appropriate for you.
Whether you’re hoping to get just enough coverage for basic services and you’re aiming to pay as little per month as possible, or you’re ready to splurge on the highest-level plan to get the greatest amount of help every time you see the dentist, there’s a policy that will give you exactly what you’re looking for.
No matter what, you’ll realize that dental insurance isn’t all that expensive after all, especially when you consider how much you’ll be saving by not paying for your care totally out-of-pocket.