#best dental insurance
Best Full Coverage Dental Insurance Options
Short Answer. If you are interested in a full coverage dental insurance plan then you either have to opt for a PPO or HMO dental plan. (Discussed below). A lot of people who research their options to find the best dental insurance plan online or through a health insurance company, come across this term “full coverage dental insurance ”. The first reaction is, Oh. I am getting coverage for everything.In dental insurance parlance, coverage is classified into three types:
Proving full coverage would mean that your dental plan would 100% cover all of dental procedures falling in any of the above three categories. Right from tooth cleaning to more complex procedures.
When I say everything it means coverage to include major diagnostic dental services and basic preventive care. You should be knowing how does dental insurance coverage benefits actually work? Each year you’re entitled to a certain dollar amount for your dental care expenses. If you do not use the allocated benefit in a specific year, it will NOT be carried over. A lot of individuals do not realize this and lose any unused benefit remaining. It happened a week back with a lot of them I know off. You lose the remaining dollar value. The name “full coverage dental insurance” honestly is quite misleading. It is very similar to the standard dental insurance plans discussed below. Typically, by paying around $40 per month you can get annual dental benefit of $1,500. A dental insurance plan does not require any kind of paperwork unlike other insurance products. There annual maximum benefit may vary depending on the insurer and deductibles as well.
“The myth behind full coverage dental insurance (also referred “everything covered” dental plans) is that dental insurance plans are not like your health insurance policies. All dental plans will cover preventive service but may not cover any serious health issues which may arise from dental reasons. It is always a good practice to consult your dentist and your dental plan insurance provider on the coverage offered before you sign on the dotted line.”
Always clarify if there is a waiting period associated with your plan. Some plans might not disclose this in open as a sales pitch but you have to wait before you can avail all the benefits. Dental insurance through an employer mostly does not have a waiting period.
If you already have a preferred family dentist for years then check with him if he accepts the plan AND he is part of the network’s doctor panel you are enrolling into. Please note, the doctor accepting your plan does not mean that he is part of the network.
If your plan will cover cosmetic and orthodontic procedures. Cosmetic procedures generally are not covered and you have to purchase a separate plan.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF DENTAL INSURANCE PLANS
A standard dental insurance plan might cover the following:
- Preventive and Restorative dentistry. (Tooth Filling, Tooth Extraction & Chipped Tooth Repair)
- Regular Dental Visits, and
- Dental Cleaning
All dental insurance plans are quite affordable as you they are not open ended like health insurance and only meant for oral health care. Anyone searching for full dental insurance coverage actually wants a plan wherein he/she does not have to bear any out of pocket expenses. There shouldn’t be any co-payments involved. To find such plans is extremely difficult where there is no put of pocket expenses. It may also mean that your dental plan should also cover orthodontic and cosmetic procedures as well. So, as you see it would all depend on the insurer you select and how the company has structured their plans to suit the masses.
Before you decide on a dental plan, read the fine prints and think from a broader perspective. Anyone looking for full coverage dental insurance has two choose between either a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) or a HMO (Health Maintenance Organization). These are also known as managed care dental plans. If you are employed, then mostly likely your employer will provide dental insurance through PPO or HMO.
Capitation Dental Plans (Dental HMO’s):
- These types of dental insurance plans are offered by closed group of insurance network served by specific dentists who have agreed to be a part of the panel.
- Dentists are obligated to provide services to patients who are part of this plan.
PPO Dental Plans:
Normal fees are discounted as PPO is based on network insurance system. You are allowed to visit a doctor who is not in network however the fees for various dental procedures might be high. PPO plans have a pre determined deductible amount. If you are covering family members as well the deductibles and add up fast. It might be a good option for individual plans. Blue Cross Shield and United Health One and Careington are examples of PPO’s.
HMO Dental Plans :
HMO’s are similar to PPO plans. Only difference is there is no benefit given if you visit a doctor who is outside the insurance network. You will have to bear the expenses completely on your own. Hence they are the cheapest option available. There might be some form of prepayment involved in such plans.
Indemnity Dental Plans (Fee For Service Plan) :
You pay for the cost of treatment upfront and then submit the bills for reimbursement from the insurer. Paperwork is more and you have to wait before your claim is settled. Mostly all indemnity plans carry a deductible amount. The main advantage is that you are not restricted to specific group of doctors. You have the liberty of choosing the dentist you prefer. they are the most expensive. Can these be termed as full coverage dental insurance option? No. These are the most expensive plans available in the market. Such plans provide 100% cover for preventive care.
Discounted Dental Plans :
You are a part of the network by paying a membership fees and this entitles you for discounted rates for dental treatments. The advantages are lower costs, no hassle of paperwork and you know well in advance the fees for a particular treatment.
If you are a senior citizen then you can also check this article titled: Dental Insurance For Seniors
TYPICAL COVERAGE PROVIDED BY DENTAL INSURANCE PLANS
- Preventive care services: 100% coverage
- Basic dental coverage (RCT, Perio disease, fillings): 80% coverage
- Major dental procedures (Dentures and crowns): 50%
Remember that what your full coverage dental insurance will cover and how much the insurer will pay you largely will depend on your annual maximum benefit limit and your deductible amount. Check these cautiously.
FULL COVERAGE DENTAL PLAN TERMINOLOGY
Many amongst us get confused with the technical terms of the insurance world and it makes our job a lot harder to get the best. Some of the most common phrases you will come across when you are shopping for dental insurance are:
Annual Maximum. The maximum yearly dollar amount limit which you can use for your dental treatment. It generally ranges between $1,000 to $1,500.
Deductible. If your dental plan has a deductible clause then you will have to pay the mentioned amount before your insurance company pays you for the coverage.
UCR (Usual Customary and Reasonable) Fee. This in simple terms is the coverage provided by the dental insurance provider for a particular service. If it says 80% for fillings then 80% of the cost can be reimbursed and remaining 20% is your out of pocket expense. Only exception is the indemnity plans wherein in after you have paid your deductible the plan will only cover a fraction of the UCR fees. Rest has to be paid by you.