Dental Plans

shw001December 13, 2004

Has anyone heard of dental plans such as the ones adeverised on this website? http://www.dentalplans.com/

These plans are primarily for people with no dental coverage. You pay about $100-130 per person or $150-180 per family annually and they claim that you automatically get significant discounts from any dentist who is signed up. The list on one of the plans I checked does include some dentists in my area that I would find OK. Discounts are in the area of 25-40%. You do not have to pre-qualify. No paperwork. Just pay the discounted bill yourself when you receive care.

Sounds too simple. On the other hand, some of the companies that offer this type of plan are well-known national companies (Aetna, GE)?

Does anyone have experience with these plans? Are they reputable? How do you know you are really getting a discount?

Thanks

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Jonesy

Check with the with your state's insurance office, to see what their opinion of it is. Sorry I have forgotten the name of that particular office. Personally I wouldn't trust an unknown company. Also I read recently an article about dental insurance. It said if you have maintained your teeth and they are in good shape and your budget is tight, you don't need dental insurance. You won't be faced with major repair work and the routine cleaning twice a year will be less expensive than the insurance.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2004 at 6:59PM
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lindac

Hah!!...I would be in the poor house....or toothless without dental insurance!
Linda C

    Bookmark   December 15, 2004 at 8:04PM
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joann23456

Lindac - Do you get your dental insurance through work? If not, it's generally very expensive for few benefits. I have terrible teeth - I do everything possible to care for them, but genetics is stronger - and have spent many thousands of dollars on them. But the dental plans I see generally require a deduction of at least $500/yr and won't pay more than $1000 - all for the "bargain" price of about $30/month ($360/year).

    Bookmark   December 17, 2004 at 12:34AM
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Jonesy

I guess I am lucky then, I have maintained my teeth and haven't had a filling for years and I only need to go to the dentist for cleaning once a year. When we did have insurance, it wouldn't pay for the really big work like bridges, braces, dentures or implants, mainly it paid for actual tooth work. Maybe dental insurance has changed.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2004 at 1:16PM
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houseful

Just came from the dentist and I need some major work. I have a bunch of silver fillings and they are all now in need of repair. Does anyone recommend a good dental plan or is the general consensus the same thought that Joann has; "that it's generally very expensive for few benefits?"

Thanks for any advice and input.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 10:08PM
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morz8

Houseful, you're going to need to do some research...

When we began our own small business and lost our group coverage I looked into dental plans available here - most have a 'waiting period' so to speak. They pay at one percentage the first year you are enrolled, at another the second, and some don't pay maximum benefits until during the third year you are paying premiums.

I do buy coverage, and find that two cleanings and perhaps one filling per year (fillings aren't cheap any more!) works out to about the same as a years worth of monthly premiums....it's kind of a coin flip whether to skip buying the policy or pay out of pocket, itemize the expenses at tax time. If a larger dental expense comes up, like root canal or crown, it does help some to have the coverage but you will likely find an annual maximum so check to be sure when, and how much, work you could have done within one year.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 12:14PM
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joann23456

Hi, I'm the Joann who posted five years ago. Since then, even though I think dental insurance is very expensive for the benefits offered, I've taken the plunge and bought it.

I figure the same way as Morz8, except that two cleanings and one filling a year amount to only about eight months of premiums for me. I pay the extra four months premiums as insurance against the next time I need a root canal or crown. (Insurance, at least the ones I looked at, doesn't cover implants.)

That said, Morz8 is right about the waiting periods, so that's something to check if you decide to get the insurance. Also, check to see that they'll cover previously existing conditions, since you already know you need work. Finally, all the plans I looked at a year ago capped benefits around $1,000-$1,250.

When you're deciding about the dental insurance, also consider the low-interest loans offered through many dentists. One of those might end up being a better deal for you.

Good luck. I find it so difficult to deal with dental problems, especially since people with good teeth often assume that if you just take care of your teeth, they'll be fine. They don't understand that people like me have been going to the dentist their whole lives, hearing, "Great job cleaning, great job flossing, your gums are very healthy, no plaque. But you have two cavities." (And, of course, I'm not saying that good self-care isn't vital.)

Personally, I think I'm doing great - my parents and grandparents all lost their teeth by age 30. I clearly remember sitting at my grandmother's dining room table as a child, being told to drink milk because it was good for my teeth. It was Christmas dinner, and all my aunts and uncles were there. I piped up and said, "Why don't any of you adults drink milk, then?" They all laughed, and I learned later that none of the adults at the table that day had their natural teeth. My mom and her sisters were in their early-to-mid 30's at the time.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 7:46AM
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houseful

What a funny story, Joann! I remember my grandmother and her sister not wearing the false teeth. They were just toothless! Fortunately (or unfortunately), I don't have any new cavities or gum problems. It's just my 25-year-old amalgams that are wreaking havoc now.

Thanks both of you for the info. You are right about the waiting period. I will have to wait 12 months for a root canal that I need now. And then it's a 24 month wait for the three crowns I need. I don't even know what they would say about preexisting conditions.

The most comprehensive plan I found was $100 a month for the family. Thank pays 100% of twice a year complete checkup/cleaning. It give substantial discounts for sealants and fillings.

I think we should get this since we have six kids. My husband says just wait for those coupons in the mail. Am I supposed to take each kid to a different dentist. He is not very rational sometimes.

So for now, I haven't made a decision but I know the insurance won't really help me with my dental work. I'll just work on one tooth at a time every couple of months.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 3:09PM
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