According to a report by the National Association of Dental Plans, in 2016 alone, around 77% of Americans had purchased a dental cover. Just like traditional health insurance, dental insurance is designed to cover a certain portion of the total cost of dental care. Their are different plans of dental insurance available including; family, individual and group plans.
The average dental insurance policy is divided into three categories: preventive,basic and major. It’s usually referred to as the 100/80/50 coverage. Majority of dental insurance plans will cover all the costs of preventive care, around 70-80% of the basic plan such as extractions and major procedures such as implants may not be covered at all.
Their are several merits and demerits of undertaking a dental cover, which brings us to the question, is dental insurance worth the effort?:
What Is The Total Cost of Dental Insurance?
On average, Americans spend up to $370 a year on dental plans that are an average of between $10 to $50 a month, with the cost tentative depending on your state. As opposed to medical insurance, with dental cover, after your bills reach the annual limit your coverage is cut off. So, any additional cost incurred you pay out of pocket.
When choosing the plan to settle for, if your employer offers a group plan it would be the best option to pick as its the cheapest option available. Individual plans are more expensive and may be backed up by contracts, and sometimes long waiting durations before some costly procedures can be covered.
What Does A Dental Insurance Cover?
Just like any insurance, the cover you get will depend on the premiums. The higher the amount of premium you pay, the better the coverage. As earlier discussed, the 100/80/50 split is the ideal policy:
- Preventive policy. These are 100% and includes the exams, cleanings, and crowns with most plans giving an allowance for a twice a year visit.
- Basic policy. Covers 70-80% and include extractions and periodontal work.
- Major policy. Covers 50% and less and include dentures, bridges, and root canals.
Their are however variations in the plans with some procedures being considered basic and not preventive. Dental plans put a heavy emphasis on preventive care.
How Much Does Dental Care Cost If You Are Uninsured?
An average cost of cleaning a tooth is $85, the cost of a bicuspid root canal being $879, crown $1000 and dental filling is $149 according to a report by FAIR Health. Most dentists would rather cash than go through the trouble of processing insurance. Also, you can save on money by visiting a dental clinic, dental school or look into a discount plan.
So is dental care worth it?
It all comes down to your dental health. it is said, prevention is better than cure. Before settling on an insurance plan it’s essential that you consider your specific needs. Dental insurance will help you save on money, but if you have no dental complications, it will make sense to forego the insurance.
The good thing about dental insurance is, it offers a safety nest in case you ever need those extensive procedures.