Is dental insurance worth it? Is it right for you? The Association of Independent Doctors suggests…
Is dental insurance worth it? Is it right for you? The Association of Independent Doctors suggests you ask these five questions before deciding:
- The math. Though prices vary nationwide, average annual premiums for dental coverage is $360. Two cleanings and one round of x-rays will cost around $284. That $76 difference could cover a filling.
- The limits. Unlike medical coverage, which after you meet your deductible, usually covers 80 percent up to a point after which it pays 100 percent, so provides catastrophic coverage, dental coverage caps out. After you reach your deductible, dental insurance usually covers 50 to 80 percent depending on the procedure, then after the $1,000 limit, the patient pays all.
- Your habits. Although 77 percent of Americans have dental coverage, according to the National Association of Dental Plans, more than a third of those who do don’t use it. They could put that money to better use, like into a health savings account or flexible spending account, which lets you put away pretax dollars for health expenses, including dental care.
- Your choices. The cheaper your plan, the fewer providers you can see. If you want to see your dentist of choice, and not be forced to see one in the network, no plan might be your best bet. Some of the best dentists don’t accept insurance because of the paperwork involved, and because insurance companies keep too much of the premium for themselves and pay doctors too little. Plus, when patients pay a dentist directly, they can negotiate a cash price.
- Omit the middleman. Paying your dentist directly could help lower costs for everyone. Dental plans today are pocketing more premium dollars for themselves, and paying dentists and hygienists less. Meanwhile their executives make million-dollar salaries for doing nothing more than collecting premiums.
Open enrollment, the window during which you can sign up for next year’s health plans, varies among employers, but generally begins in the fall.