Truth be told, there is no one right answer to this question. There are many good and bad answers depending on the situation.
Let me explain.
A discount dental plan will not be of any benefit if you already have great dental coverage. To buy one would be a waste of money. A discount dental plan can be a great way to save money if you already have coverage. It may not always happen, but it is possible. It can feel like you are playing Russian roulette if you don’t have any dental coverage. Many of my friends sell discount dental plans and can tell you stories about people who kept the information (brochures, business cards, flyers) for many months, or even years. They didn’t do anything until they needed to have a tooth extracted or had to deal with an emergency. They found the information in their kitchen drawer and immediately called the broker. The dental plan, which was not of any value up until that point, suddenly became priceless.
Let’s just accept that a discount dental plan might be worth it for some people. Let’s find out if this is something we would like and how it might be of value to us.
A discount dental plan is not insurance. Most dentists will choose to be listed under this plan. They agree to lower rates in return for their listing being shown to a large number of potential patients. This is considered advertising. A person who has the plan will browse a smaller list of dentists than the one in the phonebook. They will likely recommend the dentist to their friends and family if they are satisfied with the service.
What are the discounts on these dental plans?
While savings can vary from one plan to the next, it is not uncommon to save up to 75% to 80% on certain services. However, not all services offered by dentists will be as discounted. Some services may offer lower discounts than others. This has the upside that many services, such an annual checkup and cleaning of teeth, are free. This is because many people, especially those who are financially strapped or have large families may not be able to afford such services and end up having to pay high fees for fillings or extractions. Some people believe that if they can afford preventative measures, it is worth paying for a discount dental plan.
However, most people want to be able place a dollar value on the services. Because they are dealing with potential costs for something that might happen and don’t know what procedures might be needed in different situations, it is hard to predict what future out-of-pocket expenditures might be.
It is possible to determine the cost of a discount dental plan and what your out-of-pocket expenses will be. The annual cost of a plan that costs $10 per month is $120.00. This will need to be balanced against the possibility that you will have to use the plan. In which case, your out-of pocket costs will be $120.00 plus any fees actually paid. Some people will view the ability afford cleanings and checkups as a way to reduce the overall cost of healthcare. Families with children will find this a significant factor.
After comparing the costs and considering the possibility of having to pay large amounts of money for dental services the plan will be compared with the plan based on the benefits each plan can offer the member paying the membership fee.
Many discount dental plans have become a business. They offer vision care and prescription cards. Usually, there is no increase in membership fees. This aspect is important for potential buyers. They may pay more for plan B but get more services than they did with plan A.
HOW DO DISCOUNT DENTAL PLANS DIFFER FROM DENTAL INSURANCE?
A discount dental plan allows members to receive a discount on their normal fees, but only if the plan stipulates a certain percentage. While some dentists may charge more for certain services than others, the discount will remain the same. This is why it’s important to shop around for other providers and dentists.
Discount dental plans are simply a way to receive these discounts. After the discount has been taken, they will still have to pay all fees to the dentist. Most reputable plans require that a dentist register his or her fee schedule. This makes it easy to spot if a dentist overcharges under the plan.
Discount dental plans do not offer discounts on the cost of services. Most people will be able to step in when they have a dental issue. However, there may be exceptions. Braces, in particular, are priced based on the expected time involved. Most discount dental plans won’t require a new dentist or dental group to offer a discounted rate for a procedure that wasn’t originated in their office.
Discount dental plans are simply a way to get a discount at your dentist’s office. There is no paperwork required and no requirements other than to pay the monthly fee.
Discount dental plans also allow members to include household members regardless of their relationship status. This is a great advantage for those who aren’t in traditional “married” or aren’t immediate family. It is easy to add a family member to certain plans by simply writing to the plan’s address. This information varies from one plan to another, so make sure you check the plan’s information.
Easy to understand, and easy to apply for, discount dental plans. While filling out insurance forms can be complicated and confusing, the coverage is even more confusing. Discount dental plans require very little information. The benefits are often a list of treatment options and the associated fee or discount.
There are many factors that will determine whether or not a discount plan is worth it, but the most important factor will be the plan’s suitability for the individual.