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Dental insurance is important as it helps cover costs associated with dental care. Although some of the usual procedures like dental cleanings can be relatively inexpensive, some of the restorative procedures like dental implants can have significant costs which can place a huge financial burden on the patient if they are uninsured.
What Dental Insurance Covers
Typical dental plans, like those offered by employers, use a network of participating dentists that usually offer the following features:
- Preventive and diagnostic care
- Periodontal care
- Denture repairs
- Basic restorative procedures
- Oral surgeries
While many features are paid solely by the dental plan, some procedures such as oral surgeries may be covered up to 50%. Cosmetic procedures such as dental implants are usually not covered by dental plans, so the patient would have to assume the entire costs. However, procedures such as root canals and extractions are often deemed crucial for dental health, and may cost thousands of dollars. Having dental insurance not only helps patients shoulder most if not all of these costs, it also gives patients access to care that they might not have been able to afford otherwise.
Types of Dental Plans
Individuals can purchase plans according to their needs and financial situation. Managed care plans, like PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plans, are the most popular types of plans for individuals and families. Under a plan like this, the patient can have access to dentists within a specified network, usually within close proximity to where the patient lives. These plans are beneficial if patients want to choose a dental facility or provider and have the costs of in-network specialists covered at higher benefit levels than out of network services. Indemnity plans, however, offer a much broader selection of dental care providers, but will pay the costs only after receiving the bills from the patient. This would entail requiring the patient to pay the costs of the dental care upfront, and then submit a claim for reimbursement.
Importance of Dental Insurance
Proper dental care and hygiene, especially for children, is important and requires multiple trips to the dentist office per year. Studies from the U.S. Public Health Service have shown that dental and oral disease, which affects over 50% of the children in the U.S., are the most common and preventable conditions currently affecting young people. Without having insurance, the financial burden that can be placed on individuals and families can be very significant, especially with high-priced restorative procedures. Studies have shown that people without insurance are less likely to properly care for their teeth, and over time, the lack of preventive care can increase the risk of more complicated and expensive procedures down the road.
Dental insurance not only saves the enrollee a lot of money, but it also promotes healthy dental care and hygiene in individuals and families. With proper attention, dental health can be maintained for a lifetime. Not having to worry about the costs of not having dental insurance will also be a significant boost to people’s quality of life.