Dental Insurance

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How to Find Dental Insurance as Low as $15 a Month

With health care expenses stretching many a budget, dental insurance is often an afterthought and deemed unaffordable and/or unnecessary. However, dental insurance a primary indicator of access to dental care and is often more affordable than we think. Many Americans do not realize how little it costs compared to other daily expenses.

According to a dentalinsurance.org analysis, as a society, we tend to spend the following on everyday expenses annually:

• $3,090 on entertainment

• $1,542 on our dogs

• $1,183 on our cats

• $850 on soft drinks

• $475 on dry cleaning and laundry services

What do we spend, on average, for dental insurance in a single year? $165

Individual dental insurance can be obtained for as little as 50 cents a day. We spend about $7.73 per day, on average, eating out. Even if you and your family only visit the dentist for your recommended twice-annual exam and cleaning, dental insurance can save you money.

Most basic dental plans cover two preventive care visits per year at 100 percent. Out of pocket, the cost of these services often exceeds what you would pay in premium annually. These visits help keep your mouth and body healthy, which may reduce your need for additional and more costly care.

So how do you find dental insurance coverage for as little as $15 per month? Here are five steps to help you locate and enroll in an affordable dental plan:

1. Shop around

Find out if your state’s health insurance exchange offers dental plans for adults. Also visit carrier websites and use sites such as dentalinsurance.org and healthpocket.com to determine your private marketplace dental insurance options.

2. Get a quote

Online quotes are quick and easy. Within seconds, you can find out which dental plans you and your family members qualify for. Most of the time, to obtain a free quote, all you need to provide is your ZIP code, the birth dates and genders for those who will be covered by the plan, and the date on which you wish to begin coverage. You will receive a list of plans for which you are eligible and the estimated rate.

3. Compare options

You may wish to obtain quotes from multiple sources. Narrow your results to a couple of plans that seem like a good fit, and then read the fine print.

Here are a few of the things you should ask as you dig into plan details:

• How do benefits compare across plans? What do they cover? What don’t they cover?

• What will you pay monthly?

• What will you pay for office visits and dental services?

• What is the deductible?

• What is the calendar-year maximum?

• What is the coinsurance for different levels of care—basic, diagnostic, major, etc.?

• Is there a waiting period for certain services? If so, how long is it?

• Are there additional perks such as discount vision services or prescription drug discount cards?

• Do you have an option to add on coverage such as an orthodontic discount plan for a small fee?

• Is there an application fee; if so, how much is it?

Most plans, from basic to more robust, will cover preventive dental care at 100 percent. As stated above, this often includes two exams and professional cleanings per year. Sometimes fluoride treatments and sealants are also included. This can be a substantial money-saver. However, there are a few plans that do not fully cover preventive care, so make sure you know before you commit.

4. Consider your needs

What can you afford to pay annually for dental care? What dental services do you and your family use throughout the course of a year? Do you expect them to change? It is important to assess your oral health needs and financial situation in order to avoid:

A) Not buying enough coverage and paying more than expected out of pocket; and

B) Buying too much coverage and over-spending on benefits you will not use.

In general, a basic plan will have the lowest monthly premiums; however, you will pay more in coinsurance for dental services. A more robust plan will have higher monthly premiums, and you will pay less in coinsurance for dental services. Be aware of waiting periods and calendar-year maximums as well.

Also consider provider networks. Not all plans require you to visit network providers; however, they may offer additional discounts for seeing them. Either way, if you have a preferred dentist, check to be sure he or she accepts the coverage you are about to purchase.

5. Apply for dental insurance

Once you select a plan, the application and enrollment process should take only a few minutes. You will provide your name, Social Security number, and contact and billing information, as well as information on additional family members who will be covered by the plan. Typically, your first premium payment will be due at the time of application. Coverage will begin on your selected effective date.

To begin coverage on the first of the month, you must enroll by the 15th of the month prior. For example, if you wish to start your dental insurance on May 1, you must enroll by April 15; if you enroll April 16, the next available effective date is June 1.

Dental insurance agents and carrier customer service representatives can assist you in selecting coverage. Call 866-645-6630 to speak to a dentalinsurance.org certified insurance advisor who can answer your questions and help you find the right affordable dental plan to fit your needs.



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