Discount Dental Plans Versus Dental Insurance

What is a discount dental plan?

Discount dental plans are plans designed for individuals, families, and groups who are looking to get a deal and save money on their dental care needs. The dentists and dental care providers who are participating in these plans have agreed to accept a lower fee than they would otherwise charge from their members as payment in full for the services they perform. As a plan member you simply show your membership card when visiting a participating dentist to receive the discounted fees.

What is the difference between discount dental plans and insurance plans?

To be eligible for a dental insurance plan, you have to actually apply, be eligible and be approved for the insurance. Potential members with ongoing health problems may be denied insurance, or have such high premiums that the dental insurance is not worth the trouble. Moreover, dental insurance plans have annual limits as well as deductibles that may limit the benefits you can derive one from the insurance plan. Another advantage of a dental plan over dental insurance is that you are able to receive a discount for procedures that are not usually covered by dental insurance, such as teeth whitening.

How do discount dental plans for groups and businesses work?

Businesses can offer their employees many money-saving dental care options without offering insurance and the high overhead costs it entails. In this way employees can choose their plans that fit their individual needs and have no annual limits. Also since it is a plan and not an insurance there are no health restrictions and no paperwork hassles that come with insurances. Needless to say these type of plans provide employers with a cheaper alternative to group dental insurance with all the hassles that brings with it. Dental care plans are available to groups of all sizes, including retirees, part-time workers and employees uninsured defendants compared to insurance. Moreover both the employer and the employees can save substantial amounts of money by reducing payroll taxes since many dental care plans qualify under section 125 cafeteria plans of the Tax Code.

Why would dentists accept to participate in discount dental plans?

Dentists can reach more patients, retain them, and also reactivate them by using a discount dental plan. Their dental practice can offer a viable solution to those patients who are under-insured or those who have no dental insurance at all. Dentists can reach more patients by bringing in the new patients by inviting them to take advantage of the potential savings that are offered by such plans. Dentists can also retain their patients by offering a solution to them that would otherwise be unaffordable without a discount on their services. Moreover dentists can motivate idle patients to sign up for new treatments or continue their treatment program by offering the significant savings through the plan. This would translate into increased revenue for the dentists because they receive payment directly from the patients rather than have to wait for the insurance company to pay them. They also avoid a lot of hassle and paperwork that dental insurance plans bring with them. Also they avoid the risk of the insurance company postponing payment or refusing to pay them.

How do I find a discount dental plan?

There are plenty of online companies to offer discount dental plans depending on your location within the United States. The first step is to find one of these companies. Usually you would be asked to enter your ZIP code so that the website can find participating plans and participating dentists in your area. Thus, you will then be shown a listing of all participating dental plans and dentists in your area from which you can choose you would be able to see the yearly membership rates for an individual and family, and also the earliest activation date of the plan which is usually one or two days from the present day.

You will also be able to see the plan features and highlights as well as a sample plan savings for a variety of dental procedures. For example, you might find that a root canal treatment for a molar may cost $1100 without the dental plan, however you would receive a savings of more than $500 if you participate in the plan so that you end up being around $600.

Discounts usually vary between 30% and 60% for any given dental procedure. It’s important to note that plan savings are based on geographical areas so that the fee schedules and savings will vary between two areas within a city, or between two states. Also, fees and discounts will vary between different providers within the same ZIP code. Once you sign up you will receive a welcome letter and your membership card as well as support and contact documentation.

Understanding Your Dental Plan

Understanding your dental coverage can be a confusing process if you do not know the basics about dental insurance, before seeing your dentist. A dental insurance plan is a contract held between your insurance company and you; generally these plans are coordinated by an employer and details for the plan are negotiated between the company and the employer. While you might not have a say in what kind of coverage your plan offers, you will generally have a say in which dentist you choose to go to.

Dental insurance plans vary depending on the company and the coverage, but the four basic kinds of dental plans are direct reimbursement programs, preferred provider organizations, capitation plans, and indemnity plans. To help you better understand your dental insurance before trying to find a dentist, consider the various dental plan types.

Direct Reimbursement Programs

Just as it says in the title of this dental coverage, the direct reimbursement program is a plan where your employer directly reimburses you for part or all of your dental treatment. Generally speaking, all treatments and procedures are covered by your dental plan and you can find a dentist that you prefer for treatment. While this type of dental plan might not be convenient for people who are tight on cash, it is extremely convenient for those who want to hand-select their dentist.

Preferred Provider Organizations

With a preferred provider organization dental plan, you have to choose a dentist from a group of dentists who have agreed to provide their services at a discounted rate so they can be a part of the organization. This type of dental plan allows someone who does not currently have a dentist to find a dentist from a list of providers and remain with the same dentist throughout their time under the dental plan.

Capitation Plans

A capitation plan, also known as a dental health maintenance program, is a program where participating dentists are paid per patient enrolled in the plan. For each patient enrolled in the plan, the dentist is paid a set amount of money, regardless of the number of times a patient visits the dentist. If one patient visits every three months and another patient visits once a year, the dentist is paid the same amount regardless of the treatment received. This type of plan may or may not benefit the dentist enrolled in the plan because some patients require a lot of treatment, while others never find a dentist.

Indemnity Plans

Indemnity plans are the most common type of dental plans. Sometimes these plans are called UCR programs; UCR stands for “usual, customary, and reasonable.” With the indemnity plan, you can find a dentist that is perfect for you, pay on a traditional fee-for-service basis, and then the insurance company reimburses you between 50 and 80 percent of the dentist’s fees. Your employer pays the insurance company a monthly premium to ensure a reimbursement from the insurance company. The remaining 20 to 50 percent is generally the patient’s responsibility, after the deductible established by the employer and the insurance company is met.

While you might not fully understand the basics of your dental plan, knowing the basics of dental insurance can help provide you with knowledge about what you will encounter when trying to visit the dentist. If you have dental insurance through your employer, generally your employer can help you understand the process for finding a dentist and cashing in on your dental plan if you are still unsure about the basics. By understanding the various forms of dental plans and dental insurance types, you can be better prepared when you try to cash in on your dental plan.

About Dental Plans For Those On Low Incomes

Dental insurance is considered an essential option for people these days, as regular check ups and treatment can be costly, and accidents that require dental treatment can put a significant hole in a person’s bank account. Dental insurance is one way to make sure that dental care and treatment is affordable over the long-term.

With that said, many people on low incomes can worry about being able to afford a good dental plan. As taking out dental insurance is a long-term commitment that requires regular payments, those who are on low incomes may not think that they can afford this kind of insurance and high quality dental treatment.

The effect of this is that many people in low paid jobs forgo dental treatment instead of seeking out an affordable option. As dental care on a regular basis is important to avoid the development of gum and tooth problems, skipping treatment and check ups is not a wise idea and can affect a person’s health in a major way.

However, it is a misconception that there are no low income dentist options for adults. There a great deal of affordable dental plans out there, as well as low-cost dentists to cater to those who do not have a big income. Here are a few tips on how to go about finding such a dental insurance plan and a dental expert if you find yourself in this situation.

Firstly, look particularly for low-cost plans. Going on the Internet is the best way to do this, are there are many dental insurance providers who are selling their packages online. By doing this you will be able to find a number of insurers very rapidly, and then proceed to compare prices.

The price is an important factor for those looking for a low income dentist for adults, but this should not be the primary point by which a dental plan is chosen. In fact, low prices can often be an indicator of poor quality, and the plans with rock bottom fees may actually not cover lot of your treatment.

Other service providers offering exceptionally low prices may require that you have to compromise on your dentist. This can mean that you do not have a great deal of choice of who you go to in order to receive treatment. You may also be only restricted to certain treatments and check ups, and this may not be sufficient for your particular needs.

With this in mind, once you have found a number of service providers of low cost dental treatment, it is time to compare the contents of their packages. You can often find this information on their websites, but it is important to read the small print of each and every plan.

You may find that the basic plans include check ups and hygiene visits, which may be perfectly adequate for you in which case you can proceed to purchase a package. On the other hand, you may have a young family or an elderly person in the home who may require more regular treatment. In this case, it is worth looking for an insurer which offers this as part of their plans.

If you do find a plan which is seemingly suitable for you but is slightly out of your budget, it is often worth contacting the company to see what payment plans they have in place. You should also adopt this approach if you happen upon a great low income dentist for adults in your area.

All of these professionals endeavour to provide the best dental care, and therefore many of them will offer you payment plans tailored to your levels of income. If you cannot afford a top-tier dental plan, it is worth speaking to an insurer who you can afford to create a payment plan that suits you. This will ensure that you get the best dental treatment for a price that is right for you.

Dental Insurance – Discount Dental Plans Vs Dental Insurance

Discount dental plans are becoming more and more popular with savvy consumers. Some companies have now opted to offer their employees discount dental plans rather than dental insurance. So what’s the difference and how do you know what is right for you?

A discount dental plan is simply a membership in a network of dental providers that have agreed to perform services at a lower than market rate. As with insurance companies, you will find a wide range of providers offered (at least from the reputable companies) with a variety of specialties from general dentistry, to oral surgery, to orthodontics, periodontics, and more. You will find dental providers with a range of experience, but they are not all “fresh out of school and looking for work” as many often think. These are providers that have made a business decision to accept patients at less than market rate, knowing that they will get paid without having to hassle with insurance companies. In exchange for getting paid up front, they reduce their fees for their patients.

The Pros of Discount Dental Plans (vs. Dental Insurance):

1. Usually no waiting periods (sometimes a few days to get in the system)

2. Savings on almost all procedures including braces and cosmetic dentistry.

3. No paperwork to fill out and file with the insurance company.

4. Plans are usually very reasonably priced (Family coverage is usually under $80 per year)

5. No pre-existing condition exclusions.

6. You don’t need to be a part of a company plan to enroll. Anyone can enroll directly for a discount dental plan.

7. Excellent as a company benefit. Provides big savings for companies as there is no investment of time or administration on the part of the employer and it give the employee the satisfaction of having a dental plan to complement their medical plan.

The Cons of Discount Dental Plans

1. Payment is due at time of service. This is why the dental provider is agreeing to the discounted fee. He or she knows they are getting paid at the time of service. GOOD NEWS – You can very often apply for dental credit at your doctors office which will cover the fee.

2. Your dentist may not take the plans which means you may have to switch providers. GOOD NEWS – You can often discuss this with your dental provider and they might agree to use the payment plan of the dental plan that you have OR enroll in the program to get the benefit if being in the network.

Dental insurance is very similar to medical insurance, however focused on dental needs. Often a dental provider will give you the paperwork to file the claim with your company, asking for the payment at the time of service, but some will file for you and bill you later.

The Pros of Dental Insurance (vs. Discount Dental Plans)

1. Free check ups and cleanings. Some insurance plans will cover annual checkups and cleanings at 100%

2. Low deductibles which reduce out of pocket expenses.

The Cons of Dental Insurance

1. Not available to everyone. You must be a part of a company that offers a dental plan.

2. May have to file paperwork to get your claim paid.

3. You often pay more and still don’t get better coverage for specialists. I had a root canal once and even with insurance had to pay $600 out of pocket.

4. There is often a 30-day waiting period.

5. Pre-existing conditions may not be covered.

So which should you have? If you are with a company that offers dental insurance, by all means take it. If you are like the 75 million Americans that are uninsured or under insured, it makes sense to at least protect yourself with a
discount dental plan
given the cost. If you are preparing to change jobs, you might want to add a discount dental plan to your financial plan so that you don’t have any surprises. It is worth an extra $80 per year to have that piece of mind.