When it comes to tending to our health, our teeth often get shafted. Few and far between are the person who flosses twice daily and gets all their dental check-ups. We take our teeth for granted and usually do not give them the attention they deserve until something has already gone wrong. But, the consequences of poor dental health may extend well beyond the mouth—it has been linked to increasing the risk for serious conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Whether you are self-employed or have group coverage at work that does not include dental, you are able to secure a plan for yourself. Here are some important considerations for choosing dental insurance.
Choice of Dentist
Like regular health insurance plans, dental plans can differ in your ability to choose the health care providers you seek treatment from. When choosing a plan, it is important to know whether you can choose your own dentist or if you need to work with providers within a certain network. If you have a dentist you already see and want to continue doing so, you should inquire about his network if you are considering a plan where you cannot see whoever you choose. If you must stay within a network, do a bit of research on the included dentists that serve your area to make sure you are comfortable with your options.
Flexibility in Treatment
Another important consideration is flexibility in treatment. For a given procedure, would you and your doctor be able to proceed with whatever form of treatment you deem best for your problem? Or, does the insurance company strictly limit covered treatment options…in many cases, to the least expensive procedures. If you needed a tooth filled, would you be able to choose the material? Ideally, you want as much flexibility as possible, but that naturally comes with a higher cost, so you need to weigh your needs against what you can reasonably afford.
Carefully Compare Plans
Dental insurance policies can vary greatly in coverage and other offerings, such as waiting periods for procedures, and when you can make appointments, to name a few things. When trying to find the best policy for your needs, it is important to carefully compare plans on all major points so you can get a full picture of what they are all offering. Similarly priced plans may be drastically different. On a similar note, plans with drastically different pricing may be very similar in the most important aspects, and one may be full of stuff that you do not necessarily need. Generally, a good plan should include two free cleanings a year, and no-fee X-rays and fluoride treatments. Typically, a plan will usually cover 50 percent of treatment up to the annual payout maximum, though you may find plans that offer a higher level of insurance coverage.
If you are looking to insure your teeth, you need to do your homework to find the best coverage for you. Insurance policies can be complicated and there is a lot of information to go through. This is not the time to skim, make assumptions, or simply go with the cheapest option. You need to carefully consider your needs.