Having dental insurance or a dental discount plan is very beneficial for both your oral health care and your pocketbook. Using both a dental discount plan and a dental insurance plan can help you save even more money, but it is up to your dentist if he will accept both the insurance and the discount plan simultaneously.
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Usually your dentist will need to be in a network for either your dental insurance or for your dental discount plan. If your dentist participates in both networks, then you may be able to benefit from joint savings.
Dental Discount Plans
Dental discount plans are a cost savings benefit to reduce your dental and oral health care needs. They work by providing a network of dentists who have agreed to perform certain services at a reduced rate. You pay a monthly premium to the dental discount plan provider and in exchange you pay less money for services performed by a dentist in the selected network.
The amount of the discount you receive varies by service and some services may not be covered at all. For example, you may have to pay 100% for a teeth cleaning performed by the oral hygienist but you may save 20% off a full set of x-rays or a routine check-up performed by the dentist. Some dentists offer discounts to cash paying customers, so if you have a dental discount plan that works with a specific dentist, you may want to ask about the possibility of any additional discounts you may be able to receive.
Also, if you have dental insurance in addition to your dental discount plan and your dentist works with both networks, you may be able to submit a claim for your dental service to your insurance and get a discount from your dentist from the dental plan for the balance due out of pocket.
Note: you will not be able to use two different discount plans in conjunction with each other.
Dental Insurance Plans
Dental insurance plans are usually available through group insurance or private insurance. There are numerous levels of benefits and types of plans from which to choose so that you can find a plan that makes sense for you based on your oral health history and your insurance budget. Similar to all insurance, you will pay a monthly premium and have a deductible for your dental insurance.
Some routine visits may have a benefit that includes a co-insurance that does not affect your deductible, meaning you may pay only a certain dollar amount for that visit and the insurance will pay the rest even if your deductible has not yet been met.
Whether your deductible is met or not, in or order to maximize your dental insurance benefits you will need to see a dentist in your insurance network. If you visit a dentist out of network you will most likely be responsible for paying the entire balance out of pocket. If you have a dental discount plan in addition to your dental insurance plan and your dentist is in the network on the discount plan, then you will receive whatever benefits correlate to that plan.
However, unless your dentist is in both networks, you will most likely not benefit from having both plans. Ask your dentist what plans he works with and tell him about all of the different insurance you have to see if you can reduce the balance due on your portion of the dental bills.
The Cost Difference between Dental Discount Plans and Dental Insurance Plans
Most people do not have both a dental discount plan and a dental insurance plan. Usually a dental discount plan is purchased in lieu of a dental insurance plan because it is cheaper to buy a discount plan rather than insurance. However, you usually get more benefits from a dental insurance plan, so you really need to review and compare both types of dental plans to see which one makes the most sense for you.
Dental discount plans can be obtained for as little as $7 per month while dental insurance typically starts at $20 per month. The cost of the premium, however, is only one consideration when reviewing dental insurance options. You have to analyze the cost of the benefits in both plans as well.
For the most part, if you have dental insurance then you probably do not need a dental discount plan in conjunction. If you do have both, however, and your dentist happens to work with both networks, then you may be able to get additional savings by having your claim submitted to the insurance company and reducing your remaining balance due.
Talk to your dentist to see if this is an option for you. You can compare different dental insurance plans now to find affordable coverage with numerous benefits by entering your zip code in the field found on this page.
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