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Get the Most Out of Your Dental Insurance

Tooth-Colored Fillings 2 in Montgomery, AL by Dr. Chet Swartzentruber of Carmichael Dental Care

From job opportunities to comedy punchlines, so often in life timing is everything. It can even affect your dental costs. That’s because most dental insurance plans cap your annual benefits. So you can receive a maximum amount of money in a single year, usually somewhere in the range of $1,000 to $2,000. You can’t “bank” it and use it later. If you don’t use it, you lose it.

We want you to get the most out of your dental insurance benefits! If you still have insurance benefits remaining in 2018, call us now at 334-600-1423 to schedule exams or other services. In the meantime read our tips for maximizing your dental insurance benefits. If you’ve got questions about your insurance or anything else, just give us a call!

Consider Family’s Needs When Selecting Insurance

Not everyone gets a choice of dental insurance plans. If you do, it’s important to understand which one will best fit your family’s needs. Two of the most common types of dental insurance are a PPO and an HMO.

A PPO often covers the full cost of dental exams, professional cleanings, and similar services. For other services, you may be required to meet a deductible and also pay a percentage of the cost. Most PPOs allow you to visit the dentist of your choice, though you may pay more for a doctor who isn’t in your insurance company’s network.

HMOs often don’t have deductibles and may not have benefit maximums. You generally pay a fixed fee for your dental services. An HMO often won’t pay at all if you seek treatment from a dentist not in the company’s network.

You’ll want to consider these questions:

  • Does the plan have a maximum annual limit for benefits you can receive? If so, what is it?
  • Which treatments are covered? (For example, if you’ve got children or teens, it makes sense to look for plans that cover orthodontics services.)
  • Will you pay an out-of-pocket deductible for any services? If so, how much?
  • Is there a waiting period before you can obtain coverage for certain procedures?
  • Can you visit out-of-network dentists? Will that increase your costs?

Timing Is Everything For Dental Insurance Benefits

As mentioned, many dental insurance plans limit the amount you can receive in one year. The amount is typically between $1,000 and $2,000. We encourage you to schedule the maximum number of exams and cleanings your insurance will pay for in a year, usually two. Your plan typically covers the entire cost, so you have nothing to lose.

These visits also help us identify potential problems in their earliest stages, when they are less costly to treat. You’ll spend less overall and likely not exceed your maximum benefits for the year if you keep your teeth in great shape.

We’re happy to work with you to schedule non-emergency dental services so you won’t exceed your maximum benefits. Say you need two crowns; you can get the first one in late 2018 and the second restoration in early 2019.

Compare Pricing for Dental Services

Prices for dental services vary from dentist to dentist. To avoid exceeding your annual maximum benefits, you may want to check the cost of services at several dental practices – especially if you’re getting a pricey procedure. You can also use this good tool from FairHealthConsumer.org to research typical costs in your area.

You should discuss all of your options with your dentist so you can pick the one that makes the most financial sense. Prices for a dental crown can vary widely, for instance, depending on what kind of material is used. We’ll make sure you make the right choice for both your smile and your budget.

Dental Insurance Isn’t Your Only Payment Option

If you don’t have dental insurance or you’re looking at significant out-of-pocket expenses for needed procedures, we offer other payment options. For instance, we offer an in-house membership plan; you pay a flat annual fee that covers two preventive visits, exams, and any needed X-rays, along with 20 percent savings on other dental procedures. Call us at 334-600-1423 to find out more.

You can also use LendingClub, which offers plans that enable you to make small monthly payments for services, with no down payment required.

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