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Dental insurance individual

Each time you hear a good joke, pose for a photograph, meet your sweetheart, or clinch a business deal, you expose those lovely whites inside your mouth. However, that smile may soon falter like all other parts of your body, your teeth are susceptible to wear and tear. No matter how diligently you use that toothpaste, swish that mint mouthwash, or attack food particles with floss, you sooner or later need to send an S.O.S. to the dentist. The debit side of your bank account soon has a long list of dollars spent on dental work.

You can make that amount a few dollars less, however negligible it may be, through dental insurance. The absolute minimum that a dental plan will cover is at least two cleanings and the requisite X-rays. Other procedures will be generally shared between you and the insurance firm.

Do you really need to apply for dental insurance

YES! Absolutely! I work at a dental clinic and I have seen the reactions of people faced with dental bills: only shocked expressions. The cost of just a plain filling can set you back quite a bit financially. So the cost of major dental treatment, such as flap surgery for bleeding gums, is monstrous. It is quite possible that when you read the fine print in a dental insurance plan, you will find that you dont get cover for a lot of major work. Some examples of this: full crowns, veneers, etc. Nevertheless, obtaining insurance to cover expenses for even just an X-ray does make a lot of difference. In fact, a majority of people do apply for medical insurance through their company, but overlook the importance of dental insurance.

The Basic Setup of a Traditional Dental Insurance Plan

Lets say you require dental treatment for a cavity. You approach Mr. Smith of XYZ insurance company and pay him a fee every month. You are provided names of all the dentists who will provide the dental treatment at a reduced fee. You visit the clinic of Dr. Jones and get the cavity filled.

Dr. Jones is happy because you have been referred to him. Mr. Smith is happy because you are paying him. You are happy because you have got access to a good professional in the field. You can show off your lovely whites again!

Well, everything is not quite so hunky-dory!

What Are the Disadvantages

You are compelled to visit a dentist from the list given to you.

You have to abide by the policy rules governing treatment. Say you want a certain type of filling as you consider it the best option. However, the dental plan that you have applied for provides for another type of filling, as it is the cheapest (for them!). So you are the one who loses out on good treatment.

You are unsure whether you will obtain treatment for fewer dollars during the full term of your policy. You might get a discount the first and even second time, but maybe not for the subsequent visits.

To bypass these disadvantages, you do have an option. You should apply for a dental insurance plan that includes a dentist with whom (a) you have established a good rapport and (b) who will give you the best treatment even if it means that you will be paying more dollars. In fact, a lot of people who have been stunned by paying up for dental bills independently of their company have become wiser. It is highly advisable to apply directly through your company.

Applying through your Company

If you choose this option, the advantage is that you can visit the dentist of your own choice and your boss pays up the number of dollars that is actually spent on the dental treatment. This is known as a direct reimbursement dental plan. Another plus point of this plan is that it covers many types of dental treatment not included in a traditional dental plan. You need to keep in mind, however, that there is a maximum yearly allowance. This is approximately $1000 - $1500 annually per individual. You either pay the dentist first or get the amount reimbursed from your boss later, or your boss will pay the dentist directly.

Important Notes

You need to renew your dental insurance policy every year Maybe you are one of the lucky ones who do not have any dental problems whatsoever. So you think that you dont need to use the policys benefits. You assume that these will be included in the following years policy. Well, you are wrong. Next year means old benefits vanish. It is therefore beneficial to show your gleaming whites to the dentist at least twice a year, otherwise you are paying premiums for nothing.

You should check carefully that basic dental work, preventive treatment, and major dental procedures are the three aspects covered in the dental plan. The last one is especially important, as a simple job of putting a crown, for example, may be considered a major procedure and wont be covered in the plan.

Ask about what the insurance firm means by the terms - usual, customary and reasonable fees.

You should not overlook what are known as the missing tooth and replacement clauses in the policy. If you lost a tooth, for example, on March 15th and your policy comes into effect on March 16th, you will have to pay for the implant of the new tooth.

If your policy begins from March 16th, this does not imply that the insurance firm will immediately start handing out checks to cover your dental expenses. There will definitely be a time gap before you actually start benefiting from the insurance cover. So you need to find out what exactly is the waiting period before you obtain the benefits.

You will not get cover for cosmetic dental work, such as teeth whitening. Or, for example, if you want orthodontic treatment for irregular teeth, you will likely have to pay for it yourself.

Final Bit of Advice

You need to brush twice daily first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

Learn the correct brushing techniques from your dentist.

Vigorous brushing of teeth wears down the enamel.

Use the floss to remove tidbits trapped between teeth. Dont try to dislodge them with toothpicks or nails!

Remember: You absolutely MUST visit your dentist every six months, whether or not you are covered by dental insurance.

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