Dental Savings Plans
According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 40% to 45% of adult Americans don’t see a dentist in a given year. Cost is obviously a big reason why so many avoid the dentist. By one estimate, nearly 68 million Americans have no dental coverage. That makes going to the dentist extra nerve-wracking, as you need to worry about the pain of a big out-of-pocket expense.
I want you to listen up. If you do not have dental insurance through work, I strongly recommend that you look into enrolling in a Dental Savings Plan. I want to be clear: I am not talking about buying a classic dental insurance policy but something entirely different, called a Dental Savings Plan.
The Shortcomings of Dental Insurance:
- When you sign up you typically have to wait 6 months to 1 year before certain procedures are covered.
- There is typically a maximum annual benefit of $1,000 or $1,500. Not only can the annual premium amount to at least half that, if you need extensive work on just one tooth—such as a crown or a root canal—your costs are going to blow past that annual cap.
- Most dental insurance does not cover cosmetic dentistry.
Dental Savings Plans: The Better Alternative
Dental Savings Plans aren’t insurance. Rather, they work like a membership you have to a warehouse retailer such as Costco. With a Dental Savings Plan, you pay an annual membership fee. The annual membership cost for an individual can be about $100 a year depending on the plan, and about $150 for a family. I want to be clear: those are indeed annual fees, not monthly!
Now here is what’s surprising. Most insurance companies that offer dental insurance also offer Dental Savings Plans. So there are many Dental Savings Plans to choose from. You just want to sign up for the one your dentist takes, and if your dentist doesn’t take them, please just ask your dentist because he absolutely should.
If you then use a dentist in the plan, you will get discounted rates on certain procedures. The discounts range from 10% to more than 50%, depending on the specific plan and participating dentists.
What Makes Dental Savings Plans So Great:
- No annual maximum.
- No problem if you have a preexisting condition. You’re still eligible for discounted work.
- No monthly premiums—one low annual membership fee.
- No waiting period.
You read that right. You can enroll in a Dental Savings Plan today, and within a few days your policy is activated. No long waiting period; just make an appointment with a participating dentist and you’ll qualify for discounted rates from the get-go, with no annual maximum. I am living proof. Once I found out about Dental Savings Plans, I went to the website
http://www.dentalplans.com/, which has been offering these plans for over 15 years. There it was easy to check to see if my dentist accepted these plans. When his name came up with the plan he took, it was easy for me to sign up for that plan. The cost was about $120 a year. Just today I had to go and get some extensive work done. When I went to pay the bill and gave them my Dental Savings Plan card, the bill was reduced by $1400. I saved more than 30% of what I would have paid without a Dental Savings Plan. Bottom line: I saved $1400 with a plan that cost me $120 a year, and it’s just the first month of the year. It has already paid for itself over 10 times.
Dental Savings Plan Shopping Tips:
- Ask your current dentist if he or she participates in any Dental Savings Plan. (If your dentist does not participate in a Dental Savings Plan and you want to stay with this dentist, encourage the dentist to join a plan.)
- If your dentist won’t participate, and you still want to take advantage of the cost savings of a Dental Savings Plan, you will need to find a new dentist. Please do this carefully. Make sure you ask friends for some recommendations, and then see if any of those names turn up in the “find a dentist” feature available at any Dental Savings Plan shopping sites.
- Only buy a Dental Savings Plan from a company that offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. If your dentist is not part of a Dental Savings Plan (and you want to stay with that dentist), not only should you get the money back for the yearly premium, but you should get the $20 processing fee that most plans charge.
- Read the fine print. Basic cleanings and a filling here and there are commonly covered. But if you anticipate needing extensive work, be aware coverage can vary. Not all plans cover procedures such as veneers and bonding, or cosmetic work. Comparison shop based on specific work you anticipate you may need or want.
- Bottom line: Dental Savings Plans are something that you all should look into. Will they save you money? Absolutely! Especially if you currently don’t have any coverage.
To learn more about Dental Savings Plans go to