Before scheduling your next dentist’s appointment, you want to find a dental insurance company that you can trust. Attempting to compare policies can be difficult though, especially if some of the verbiage is unfamiliar. This is why it’s important that you understand the basics when it comes to choosing the right plan. Keep reading to discover three tips that can help you select the right dental insurance for your unique needs.
What is a Benefit Period?
Understanding how long your benefits are good for is essential. This is the basic timeframe for which you are able to use your plan. Most companies build their policies to be good for one calendar year, so you’ll need to make sure that you use any available funds before midnight on December 31.
Starting January 1, your plan will renew, which means your deductible will return to $0, and you’ll be required to first meet it before your insurance company agrees to pay more for restorative care.
What are Deductibles and Annual Maximums?
Before you enroll in a plan, it’s best to review the required deductible and available annual maximum. If you’re unfamiliar with these terms, here is a brief explanation:
A deductible is the amount you must pay out of pocket before your dental insurance company will cover any of your treatments. Most companies set deductibles low, so they are easy to meet early on in the year. However, each policy is different, so you’ll need to make sure you understand if your deductible is only attached to you or your entire family.
An annual maximum is the designated amount your dental insurance company will agree to pay in a calendar year. If you require multiple complex forms of treatment (i.e., root canal therapy, tooth extractions, etc.), you may find that your costs exceed the annual maximum. In this situation, you are required to pay the remaining out-of-pocket expenses.
What Are Preventive Services Covered at 100%?
First, not all insurance companies will cover preventive care at 100%. Many only provide 80% coverage, so you’ll need to review your plan to determine if you’ll be required to pay anything out of pocket when you arrive for a dental checkup and teeth cleaning.
The reason, though, that so many companies offer 80-100% coverage is that they design their plans to be focused on prevention. Unlike medical insurance, which pays more for hospitalizations, specialist visits, and other reactionary care, dental insurance rewards patients who are proactive about their oral health.
This is why you’re encouraged to see your dentist twice each year for checkups and cleanings, as they are likely to cost you little to nothing out of pocket.
While these are just three simple tips to help you better understand dental insurance and how it works, you can begin to feel more confident choosing a plan that works for you and your family.
About the Author
Dr. James R. Nelson has been serving the residents of Louisiana since 2013. Graduating from the LSU School of Dentistry in New Orleans with his Doctor of Dental Surgery, he is certified in oral conscious sedation and Invisalign. Dr. Nelson and his team at Nelson Dental Care want all patients to have access to affordable dental care, which is why he encourages individuals to use dental insurance to pay for treatment. If you are looking for ways to maximize your benefits, call (504) 887-3311 or visit our website.