Dental Insurance Plans vs. Discount Dental Plans
With the growing cost of healthcare, having sufficient health coverage is becoming more and more crucial to everyday life. The same goes for dental care. Because there are so many companies offering different dental plans and dental insurance it is important to learn as much about the different types of dental coverage available. Just like with health insurance, there are two main types of dental insurance plans the PPO (preferred provider organization) and the HMO (health maintenance organization). An alternative to dental insurance is the discount dental plan.
The Dental PPO
In a dental PPO insurance plan, there is a list of “preferred” providers that will work with that particular insurance provider. Patients covered by the PPO plan are able to choose their dental care professional from the list, or network. Dental PPO insurance plans can help patients regulate the costs associated with dental care and emergencies.
Usually, PPO dental insurance plans have a deductible of $50 to $100 with a yearly maximum amount of funds allocated for dental care. Additionally, most dental plans will only cover a specified percentage of each treatment. Typically, a dental PPO plan will cover 80 to 100 percent of preventative measures such as cleaning, check-ups, x-rays, and fluoride treatments. For major care, included but not limited to, crowns, bridgework, and dentures, the plan will usually cover only about 50 percent.
Dental HMO Plans
HMO medical plans have had much negative coverage associated with them. These plans are much better suited for medical treatments rather than dental treatments because of the low level of coverage. The American Dental Association (ADA) has recently noted that HMO dental plans do not sufficiently cover even preventative dental care. Because HMOs generally do not cover a sufficient amount of dental care services, many dentists avoid dealing with HMO plans.
Discount Dental Plans
Having a dental insurance plan can be beneficial to the patient to help cover expensive dental work. However, depending on the type of plan, it may end up costing much more, or not covering what the patient needs. An alternative to dental insurance is the dental discount plan, offered by several companies. Usually, dental discount plans have a low monthly fee and offer 25 percent to 80 percent off the price of most dental procedures, regardless of whether it is preventative or emergency. For specialists, the discount is about 25 percent.
Unlike dental insurance plans, the dental discount plan does not exclude pre-existing conditions. All dental conditions are included and eligible for the discount when visiting the dentist. Furthermore, many (not all) discount dental plans include several other tiers such as discount prescription plan, discount on eyeglasses and eye exams, and discount chiropractic plans at no additional cost. These tiers would cost a bit more with regular insurance coverage.
Either way, it is important that patients have some type of dental coverage to help cover costs and maintain dental health. The dental insurance plans and discount dental plans all differ from provider to provider, and may even differ depending on the state. It is best to fully read and research each option before signing up for a particular dental coverage plan.