Supplemental dental insurance is an insurance policy that covers gaps in a traditional insurance policy. It is not meant to take the place of a traditional health insurance company, which in this case, provides dental insurance.
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Understand that not all health insurance providers cover dental work. If your health plan doesn’t cover dental insurance, you must shop for dental insurance, not supplemental dental insurance. Supplemental insurance is purchased to fill the gap for an existing policy.
The Cost of Good Oral Hygiene
For example, a dental insurance plan may only cover up to $1,000 a year. That is enough to pay for minor cleanings and fillings. However, a dental crown can cost anywhere from $500 to $3,000 per tooth. With an average of 32 teeth per mouth, that’s a huge figure! No wonder that many folks choose to purchase a health care plan with dental work covered and a supplemental dental plan to cover any gaps.
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Many employers today do not provide dental insurance, or only provide it at an additional cost. This may discourage people from having dental insurance altogether—a big mistake, considering how important dental hygiene is to living a happy life. However, because dental work is traditionally much less expensive than medical testing and surgery, dental insurance is not as expensive in premiums. Supplemental health insurance is even less expensive because much of the dental work is paid for by the dental insurance provider.
Type of Supplemental Dental Plans
Take a look at the types of supplemental policies that are available. There is no single best choice. Your needs and budget will determine what is best for you.
Dental Discount Plans
This plan lowers the cost of dental work by way of leveraging the total number of members, in order to get lower prices from dentist offices. This type of policy merely reduces the price of insurance through a special dental discount member card. These policies might be as low as five dollars a month.
Student Based Coverage
Another option is student supplemental dental insurance, created by some colleges to cover the cost of dental care for students that have recently lost coverage under their parents’ dental policies. Benefits here are limited, buy might involve:
- Basic x-rays
- Pain relief options
The good news is that these options are generally inexpensive and so may be entirely paid by the supplemental insurance policy.
Preferred Provider Network
This is a dental insurance plan that lets you choose your own dentist (as long as he or she is in the local network), and also pays a flat fee on any dental insurance. However, you must pay the rest. Understand that the average benefits paid by a traditional provider are usually less than $2,000 and sometimes as low as $1,000.
Other traditional policies might not cover an expensive procedure, or perhaps will only a pay a flat rate for such services. You will also have to pay a deductible before the insurance provider will start covering expenses. A standard clause in a dental insurance contract is that the company pays for 50% of all major work. Major work usually counts:
- Bridges and
- Oral surgery
The Intent of a Supplemental Insurance Policy
The main intent of a supplemental insurance policy is to cover the gap left between traditional insurance and out of pocket expenses. However, some supplemental providers are now offering special discount programs that help patients pay for inexpensive dental work, such as cleanings and fillings—regardless of their dental plan. Although they advertise their services as an unsuitable replacement for dental insurance, the fact of the matter is that patients who only want a minimal amount of work done may be able to replace a traditional insurance policy with a supplemental program.
The question is, can your mouth afford only light dental work? It’s best to look for a dental insurance plan (and an optional supplemental plan) that can cover everything from fillings, to crowns and bridges, to implants or even cosmetic dentistry. Find out what type of coverage the insurance company offers. Supplemental insurance can really help out and save you huge cash expenses, if anyone in your family needs major work done.
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