Discount Dental Plans and Affordable Dental Care

Healthy teeth and gums play a fundamental role in our overall health. Regrettably, rising dental insurance premiums and treatment costs have made dental care inaccessible to many people across the nation. Today, there are more than 108 million children and adults without dental insurance in the U.S. As the need for affordable dental care continues to grow, more and more people turn toward discount dental plans as a cost-effective and easy-to-use alternative to dental insurance.

Current research shows a clear shift in the dental benefits marketplace attributed, in part, to concerns with cost, choice and service. Many consumers and employers are moving away from the inflated premiums, strict restrictions, poor service and other limitations often associated with traditional dental insurance and are looking toward the savings and benefits offered by discount dental plans. “With an estimated 45% of Americans not having any type of dental coverage, and the dental insurance marketplace offering few, affordable dental products for individuals, discount dental plans are an attractive answer to the need to reduce consumer out-of-pocket costs and increase access to care.”

Discount dental plans provide consumers with the value they desire by offering access to affordable, quality dental care at a low price and with an emphasis on choice and service. Plan members pay a low annual membership fee and are granted access to a network of participating providers offering discounts of 10% to 60% on most dental procedures, including braces, root canals, crowns, dentures, cosmetic dentistry and more on select plans. Certain plans even include discounts on additional benefits, including prescription, vision, hearing and chiropractic care.

Discount dental plans, designed to provide significant savings on members’ dental care needs, have quickly become an attractive alternative to costly dental insurance. Traditional dental insurance, once the only dental benefit option available, features many drawbacks including costly deductibles, tedious claim forms, long waiting periods and other limitations. On the other hand, discount dental plans are more cost-effective, easy-to-use and free of these hassles.

Additionally, discount dental plans – starting at $79.95 per year for individuals and $129.95 per year for families – are much more affordable than dental insurance. According to a 2005 report by the National Association of Dental Plans (NADP), a trusted representative of the dental benefits industry, the average monthly premium for individual dental HMO insurance is nearly $16 (about $192 per year), compared to nearly $24 (about $288 per year) for individual dental PPO insurance and nearly $31 (about $372 per year) for individual dental indemnity insurance. According to NADP, “Discount dental plans have become an economical and important alternative to combat the rising cost of health care. They are a cost-effective vehicle for millions of undeserved consumers to improve their access to dental care.”

Discount dental plans also provide businesses and other groups with dental benefits that are easy to implement and practically effortless to manage. Many businesses are using discount dental plans to offer dental benefits to people that are rarely covered by traditional dental insurance, including retirees, part-timers, seasonal workers and uninsured dependents. Businesses can protect their employees’ health and provide peace of mind by encouraging their team to join a money-saving discount dental plan.

In short, discount dental plans offer individual, families, businesses and other groups with a great deal of value by providing access to affordable dental care without sacrificing service or flexibility. Discount dental plans are an ideal solution for anyone looking to save money while improving their oral health.

The Best Dental Plans – Finding the Best Dental Plan

It is a good habit as well as a responsibility to take care of one’s teeth. It will also be a wise step to choose best dental plans for you and your family. Dental plans include different dental services like surgeries, medication, check-ups, etc. at discount rates or with some additional benefits. There are usually one year plans after which you can switch to some other dental service provider or renew your previous plan if you are completely satisfied with your current dental service provider. Dental coverage can be obtained by all including families, individuals, groups, organizations, etc. The premium rates of these plans are very low and so people of all classes can easily afford them. There are numerous dental plan providers to choose from and it is the task of the customer to search for the best provider.

Given below are some guidelines which will assist you in choosing the most appropriate dental plans:

Ensure that your family dentist is a part of the plan so that you don’t have to invest more in including your personal dentist in that plan. Fully inquire about the plan’s cost and the cost which will charged if you include that dentist in your dental coverage. Those who are not willing to pay any extra amount can request for the list of clinics and dentists and research for those clinics and dentists who will be most convenient for you and your family and also about the type of services they provide.

Enquire about the free treatments offered and all those treatments which are covered in your yearly dental insurance cover. Check for the number of free dental cleanings which you will get in one year and what are the other dental procedures included in the coverage. Knowing about the services which are included and excluded from the coverage will help you assess whether it would be worth buying that plan or not.

Know about the plans which are restricted. These may include clinic appointments, medication reference, etc. Check the number of clinic appointments which you can make in a month and in a year. Many dental clinics allow you to take appointments on specific days and specific times only. Ensure that your dental coverage is flexible according to your schedule.

It will be beneficial to choose family dental plans. If applicable, you can also choose joint dental plans. These plans are quiet cheap as compared to any individual dental plans. You should select the best dental coverage which fulfill all your needs and requirements and are not very expensive.

Go for a deep research about different dental companies and the plans offered by them. You should compare their prices, features, and other important issues. Read the reviews of individual dental companies and also check their previous records and services offered by them. You can also consult your relatives and friends if they have previously purchased some dental plans which will ease your search.

Are Discount Dental Plans Worth The Expense?

To tell the truth, there is not one good answer to this question. There are a lot of good answers and a lot of bad answers, depending on your situation and point of view.

Here’s what I mean.

If you have really great dental coverage already, a discount dental plan is worthless to you. It would be throwing money away to buy one. If you have some coverage, but not that great, a discount dental plan may actually save you money when combined with your coverage. Not always, but it CAN happen. If you have no dental coverage at all, then not having some sort of dental plan can be like playing Russian roulette. I have a lot of friends who sell discount dental plans, and most can come up with a story about someone who held on to the info (brochure, business card, flyer) for months or even years, not doing anything about it until they had a toothache or needed dental surgery. Suddenly they rummaged through the kitchen drawer until they found the information and called the broker. The dental plan which had not been of value until then suddenly became priceless.

So, let’s accept the fact that for SOME people, not everybody, but some, a discount dental plan MIGHT be of value. Let’s see if we can find some ways to see if it’s something we might like to have, and what would be its value.

First of all, a discount dental plan is NOT insurance. In most cases, certain dentists have chosen to have themselves listed under the particular plan. In return for having their listing regularly shown to a large list of potential patients, they agree to offer reduced rates on their services. They consider this to be a form of advertising in a way. If someone has the plan, they will look through a list of dentists which is smaller than the list in the phone book. If they like the service, they will probably bring their immediate family members in or recommend the dentist to friends or other family members.

How big are the discounts in these dental plans?

Frankly, that is something that will vary from plan to plan, but savings up to 75% or 80% are not unusual for SOME services. Be aware, however, that NOT EVERY service the dentist provides will be discounted that deeply. Some services may have much smaller discounts. The upside to this is that under many of these plans, some services, such as an annual checkup, may be free, and services such as an annual teeth cleaning may be free or at extremely low rates. The value of this lies in the fact that many people, particularly if they are strapped for cash or have large families, may put off such services because of the expense, and wind up paying huge fees later for fillings, extractions, root canals, or other oral surgery. Some people may feel that just heading off expensive problems as a result of being able to afford preventative measures may make almost ANY discount dental plan worth the expense.

Most people, however, want to be able to place some sort of dollar value on the services. Since they are dealing with the potential costs of something that MIGHT happen, and have no real way of knowing what procedures might be required in various situations, it is difficult to say what actual out-of-pocket expenses might be in the future.

It IS possible to see what a discount dental plan will cost and figure out exactly what the out-of-pocket expense will be. If a given plan costs $10 a month, obviously the annual cost is going to be $120.00. You will have to balance this against the possibility of having to use the plan, in which case your out-of-pocket costs will be the $120.00 plus the fees you actually pay. Again, some people will see the ability to afford checkups and cleanings as a means of decreasing the total possible costs due to the ability to catch problems at the root…no pun intended…before they become big, expensive problems. This will almost certainly be a factor for families with children.

The bottom line is, that after reviewing the costs and looking at the possibilities of having to hand out large sums of money for dental services, plan will be compared to plan based on what each can provide the person paying the membership fee.

Since discount dental plans are a business, many have improved their position by adding such services as vision care, prescription cards, and other services, usually at no increase in the membership fees. A potential purchaser will want to take this aspect into account as well. Although they may be paying more for plan B, they may be getting more services than with plan A.

HOW DO DISCOUNT DENTAL PLANS DIFFER FROM DENTAL INSURANCE?

As pointed out, under a discount dental plan, member dentists have merely agreed to discount their normal fees by whatever the agreed upon percentage is which is offered by the plan. Some dentists will charge more or less for some services than other dentists, but the discount will be the same, so some shopping for dentists or other providers may be needed.

Purchasers of discount dental plans simply buy the right to get those discounts. They will still be responsible for all the fees to the dentist after the discount has been deducted. Since most reputable plans require a dentist to register his or her fee schedule, it can often be easily detected if a dentist is overcharging under the plan.

Since discount dental plans are simply discounts on cost of services, most will not have any problem stepping in right in the middle of an ongoing dental problem. There may be some exceptions to this, however. In particular, braces are normally priced on the expectation of a time being involved, and most discount dental plans will not require a new dentist to offer a discounted rate for a procedure of this type that was not originated in his or her office.

Also, since discount dental plans simply offer a discount at the dentist’s office, there is usually no paperwork to file, and there are no qualifications to be met other than paying the fee as it comes due each month.

Another beneficial feature of discount dental plans is that many allow members to include other household members, no matter the relationship. This is of great benefit to those who are not in traditional “married” status, or who are not immediate family members. Adding a member to some plans can be as simple as sending a letter to the plan’s office. All of this varies from plan to plan, however, so be sure to check out the plan’s information.

Discount dental plans are easy to understand and applications are simple. Where filling out an insurance form can be confusing, and the coverage even more so, discount dental plans usually require a minimum of information, and the benefits offered are easily understood, as they are usually just a list of treatments, and the fee or discount associated with that treatment.

Whether or not a discount dental plan will be of value to an individual will be based on a lot of factors, but the most important one will be how well that particular plan suits the needs of the member.

Difference Between Dental Insurance and Discount Dental Plan

Discount dental plan is an affordable option for traditional dental insurance in number of ways, the question here comes how would a person can select which one among is the better option to go for. So, here we take a look at the differences between the two dental plans, and that will help out to select the best one.

Dental insurance

Dental insurance is the very first choice for a person going to opt for the dental care procedure,
The very first thought that comes to ones mind, going to opt for the dental care cover is dental insurance; it is the traditional method to get cover over all your dental care procedures.

Dental insurance provides you with the dental care cover costs reimbursement, by the help of dental insurance you will get back your dental care expenses, but here are few conditions or criteria to opt dental insurance for your complete dental care procedure, dental insurance have no provision for the cover for the peoples of old age, here you will not be able to enjoy cover for the peoples having any pre-existing dental problem.

Another drawback for the dental insurance is that, you have to under go pre-medical certification tests as a proof for any pre-existing dental care problem. You have to fill number of confusing forms, to get your dental care costs returned.

Dental insurance is best for regular preventive care as teeth cleaning, fluoride treatments etc. but if a person is thinking for buying dental insurance to cover for the root canal, that you require immediately, then you’ll feel regret.

Discount Dental Plans

Discount dental plan as the name suggest is not insurance plan, discount dental plan offers discounts over all the dental care treatments, here you will get discounts between 10% to 60% on all your dental care process, be it preventive or intense dental care procedures, it covers for all major dental works such as dentures, bridges, braces, root canals and more. Here, in dental discount plan you will be provided with discounts on your complete dental procedures, at the time of paying your dentists, here you have to show your membership card and you will benefited by discounts over your complete dental care procedures.

You will enjoy with discount dental plan, available for all the dental care procedures and for all the peoples though suffering from pre-existing dental problem. Here, there is no need to fill confusing forms, or there is no need to fill claims to get your dental care costs returned.

Discount dental plan provides covers for all kinds of dental care procedure, be it preventive or intense, such as root canal, denture, cleaning, teeth whitening, braces etc it also provides covers for the cosmetic dentistry treatments. Discount dental plans are an inexpensive and easy-to-use option for dental insurance, and offers plan members with important savings on all the dental procedures.

Here, we have gone through all the important points of dental insurance and discount dental plan, so it will be easy for all of you to decide which plan is more beneficial and appropriate for the dental care of yourself and for your family.

Dental Plans For Great Dental Care

People often do not pay as much attention to their dental health as they do to other illnesses, often with serious consequences. To keep dental diseases at bay and to meet the rising costs of dental treatment it is important that you choose a good dental plan. Having a dental plan should encourage you to take more preventive care of your teeth to avoid the more serious dental problems.

With medical insurance services, the cost of a particular medical treatment or health check is reimbursed directly by the insurance company to the medical service provider. With dental insurance plans, the company is responsible for reimbursing the dentist. Dental plans can however vary in type and feature. Dentists participating in discount dental plans take lower fees than those covered by regular dental plans, with discounts varying between 20% and 60%.

All dental plans charge a membership fee, with the amount varying from one plan to the other. Dental plans are offered to either individuals or to the whole family, with family dental plans usually offering bigger discounts than individual dental plans. You should compare the rates charged under the different plans before selecting the most appropriate one for you.

It is important also to know the type of dental services covered by your dental plan. Routine dental check ups and dental treatments such as oral examination, teeth cleaning, fluoride treatment, teeth filling and teeth extraction are generally covered by most dental plans. However, dental plans do not always cover major dental care treatments such as oral surgery, dental implants, restorative care, braces, root canal treatments etc. In case of such costly dental procedures you unfortunately have to foot the bill yourself. Often there are a number of alternative treatments available for certain dental problems. Under such circumstances dental plans allow reimbursement for the cost of the basic dental treatment, and further costs in excess of the basic treatment cost has to be covered by the patient.

Dental health plans may or may not allow you to choose your own dentist, but it is common practice for patients to generally receive dental care from dentists mentioned in the plan. Before choosing a plan make sure that the participating dentists practice in your area. Choose a plan that is accepted nationwide and not restricted to your state. Check whether you are allowed to visit the dentist unscheduled, or at scheduled hours only.

You also need to decide whether you want an annual plan or a monthly plan. Annual dental plans are more cost beneficial than monthly plans. So get regular check ups with your dentist to reap the maximum benefits out of your dental plan.