Dental insurance after retirement
I'm a regular on the Kitchen Forum but haven't posted here till now. I recently resigned from my job (since I'm age 60, I'm not sure whether to call it retirement or not). I plan to take a long rest and catch up on some projects, and then I will probably freelance from home. DH is 62 and plans to continue working "forever." We have had dental insurance through my employer, but that will no longer be available, except that I could continue it for 18 months through COBRA. I'd like to find some other dental insurance as an individual + spouse. We have our medical coverage through DH's employer, and they do offer a dental plan, but our dentist doesn't participate in that particular plan, and we want to stay with our current dentist, if we can manage to.
I asked our dentist's staff for a list of insurance plans he participates in. I've been calling them and checking web sites, and it appears that most of the PPOs are available only as group plans through employers. Several companies offer discount cards for fixed fees or a straight percentage (generally 25--35%) off of the customary fee. That might be our best (or only) bet, but I am still hoping to find a real insurance plan.
We generally need routine care, like cleanings, x-rays, and the occasional filling, but over the years, there have been more expensive needs like crowns, too, so I can't expect that we'll always need only the minimal services.
Is it better to have a deductible to keep the cost low for the expensive stuff that might arise, or to pay at a discount across the board?
Do any of you have experience with the discount programs? Do they really suit your needs? Have you encountered problems with them? Or do you know of any dental PPOs available to individuals? Is using COBRA a good or bad idea? I'd appreciate any advice you can give me.