November 29, 2016
The end of the year is approaching. Maybe you’re wrapping up a great year, or maybe you’ll be happy to see this year end. With holiday and family plans, your schedule can be filling up rather quickly.
If you haven’t already, be sure to schedule your second dental visit of the year. This is important for two reasons: 1. It’s best oral health practices to visit your dentist for cleanings once every six months. 2. If you have dental insurance, you’re paying for dental treatment.
I want to talk to you about the latter today. Dental insurance is a great tool, but there is a lot of fine print that people tend to not read. According to Gallup, about 60 percent of Americans have dental insurance. Most dental insurance providers operate on a yearly schedule, and provide a set allotment of money for each patient. But the benefits do not rollover into the next year.So whatever money you had left over goes back into your dental insurance company’s bottom line after Dec. 31.
Today I want to list a few things you can do not get ripped off by your dental insurance company.
Use Your Benefits. Most dental insurance companies provider policyholders with two free dental cleaning every year. I say free, but really you pay for these cleanings several times over with your monthly premiums. Insurance companies will also cover a percentage of general and restorative treatments. This is huge, especially if you have untreated dental issues. Also, not treating dental problems is a slippery slope, as the problems will not go away on their on. Without dental care, your problems will get worse.
Dental insurance will not pay for everything. Dental insurance is meant to be an aide. Most dental insurance providers will pay on average of 50 percent of all general and restorative treatments.
There may be a waiting period. Some patients new to dental insurance find that there is sometimes a waiting period for restorative treatments. They go to the dentist believing that their dental crown or root canal therapy will be covered, and they are shocked to find that it isn’t. This waiting period is there to prevent people from picking up dental coverage only when they absolutely need it. I understand this, but it can be surprising to patients. First of all, you will never encounter this type of problem at our office. If your dental insurance company does have a waiting period, we’ll let you know upfront while you plan your treatment.
The coverage hasn’t changed for years. Like most Americans, I’m sure the increased cost of living has affected you. Health insurance doesn’t always follow inflation rates. Dental insurance started in the 1960s in this country. At that time, providers like Delta Dental were allocating patients about $1,000 a year. The average allocation of dental insurance now is still between $1,000 and $1,500. That’s not a lot of money, considering a dental crown can cost about $1,500 t0 $2,000 on its own.
A lot of patients with insurance haven’t read the fine print. Take these facts into consideration the time you’re at the dentist or reviewing your dental insurance options.
We work with patients who have dental insurance and those who do not. We also have affordable payment options for those patients who need restorative work. You can schedule a visit with us at 828-355-5673.