Understanding Dental Insurance
Dental insurance can be a very important protection, especially if you have children. The cost of braces alone can reach into the thousands of dollars, and few people have the funds to pay those amounts out of pocket. A quality dental insurance policy can sharply reduce the cost of routine – and non-routine – dental care for both individuals and families.
There are many different dental insurance policies on the market, each with its own set of policies, procedures and costs. As with health insurance, it is important to shop around for coverage that best meets your unique circumstances. When shopping for a dental policy, you need to look at not only the cost of the premiums but also deductibles, co-payments and non-covered services.
You may have the option to purchase dental insurance through your employer, along with your health insurance policy. If you have that option, you may find that it is less expensive than trying to buy coverage on your own. Even so, it is a good idea to shop around and see what individual policies cost in your area.
Understanding the Deductible
It is important to understand that even the best dental insurance is unlikely to cover all of your costs. Insurance works by transferring risk and spreading costs, and that means you will be required to bear some of those costs. One of these costs is the annual deductible – an amount you must meet before the insurance starts paying your claims.
The deductible amount will vary from policy to policy, so it is important to read the fine print carefully. If the deductible on your policy is $200, that means you will need to spend $200 on dental services before the insurance starts paying any claims.
Understanding the Copay
The copay is the other part of the cost-sharing equation. When you go to the dentist, your dental insurance will pay a portion of the bill, and you are responsible for the rest. A typical arrangement might be that the insurance company pays 80 percent of the bill, while you pay the remaining 20 percent.
It is important to look at the fine print on your policy and understand exactly what your copay amount will be. In some cases the policy will have a maximum out-of-pocket cost – once you reach that amount the insurance will pay 100 percent of your bills through the remainder of the year.
Understanding all of the costs associated with dental visits and dental insurance is the key to getting the best coverage for your situation. If you rarely visit the dentist except for routine cleanings and checkups, you might find that dental insurance does not provide much of a benefit. If you require more extensive dental work, you could find that enrolling in a quality dental insurance plan could save you hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars a year. The best way to find the right coverage – and make the most of that coverage – is to be an informed consumer.