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Only 40% of private companies offer dental benefits to their employees, according at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you are one of the 77 million American adults without dental insurance, you have a choice: pay the full price for dental care or buy some type of dental plan on the private market. Figuring out which option is right for you can be a challenge. Here are three things to consider:
What dental treatments do you need and when?
If you know you’ll soon need expensive dental work, such as root canals, crowns or a dental implant, get the cost from your dentist, then check the details of any insurance plan you’re considering carefully. You can ask the plan provider – or the insurance broker – if the treatments you need would be covered if you join the plan.
Dental insurance does not always provide immediate savings in all situations and may not cover certain treatments, such as pre-existing conditions. This can vary depending on the type of cover and the date you were insured, so it is important to get all the details.
How much does private dental insurance cost?
For a single person, dental insurance will generally be costs about $600 per year – this fee is called your monthly premium. Your premium will vary depending on the type of plan you choose – for example, insurance that only covers preventative care (exams, cleanings, basic x-rays) will often have a lower premium than one that includes coverage for restorative care. Dental insurance also often has an annual deductible of around $50 per person and an annual coverage limit – usually between $1,000 and $1,500. If you want to maintain healthy teeth and gums, you box pay out of pocket for your dental care after you reach your annual limit, until your plan is reset.
You can talk to your dentist to find out which plans they accept and which one they can also recommend based on your current dental health. Many dentists accept both traditional insurance and alternatives.
What are the alternatives to dental insurance?
Pay full price – If you decide you’re comfortable paying full price for your dental care, consider setting aside some money each month to fund your annual dental care costs. Skipping dental care is dangerous for your oral and overall health, so make sure you have a way to comfortably pay for preventative care — like your routine checkups and cleanings that typically cost* $150-200 per visit — as well as any restoration or emergency care, such as crowns, bridges, root canals or the treatment of a cracked tooth or gum infection.
Join a dental savings plan – An increasingly popular option, these plans are an affordable alternative to dental insurance with several unique benefits. Plan members can save 10-60% on most dental procedures across a nationwide network of dentists, with member surveys indicating an average savings of 50%. Although dental insurance has premiums, deductibles, annual spending limits and restrictions on pre-existing conditions, dental savings plans do not. They operate like a membership in a warehouse club – plan members pay once a year and then receive discounts every time they go to the dentist. The average cost* of a dental savings plan is $134 for an individual and $189 for a family, for a full year.
Healthy teeth and gums are essential for your general well-being. If your employer doesn’t pay for dental insurance, you can still get affordable dental care. Use the guide above to determine if private dental insurance or an alternative such as a dental savings plan best suits your needs and budget.
*Average cost obtained from DentalPlans.com procedure finder.
To determine the best dental insurance providers, we scoured every carrier in the United States. We have winnowed the list by only including companies that have a large coverage area and a wide range of products. To further break down the list of the truly best dental insurance providers, we’ve given weight to carriers that offer discounts, are available in all states, and have multiple payment plan options.
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