At the Root of the Matter: The Importance of Dental Insurance
Oral health is as important as your overall physical well-being. That’s the reason why dental insurance plans exist. And given the costs of some dental procedures, it’s all the more reason to have one.
You don’t know when toothaches are going to strike or make that important visit to the dentist. Take advantage of your dental plan or if you haven’t one, take note of this article when shopping for dental insurance.
Dental Benefits in the U.S.
Tooth-related ailments can be prevented and remedied. Some individuals access dental care and services through their group or employer healthcare insurance programs.
The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, which aims to make affordable healthcare accessible to more people, offers pediatric dental care. Adults are excluded.
Some states under the Medicaid program offer preventive dental benefits, according to the National Association of Dental Plans (NADP).
By the numbers
NADP who ran a study of dental benefits in the U.S. came out with these results for the year ended 2016:
- 164.2 million Americans are covered by private dental insurance plans.
- 90% of Americans with private dental coverage obtained it through group or employer policies.
- 7.1% have individual dental coverage.
- Less than 3% have dental benefits as part of a medical plan.
- 83.9 million Americans access their dental benefits via Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program and Tricare.
Notwithstanding the ACA, NADP found that 74 million Americans remain dentally uninsured in 2016.
Costs of Dental Services
NADP pointed out the higher likelihood for dentally uninsured individuals to have extractions and dentures and the lower likelihood they will receive restorative dental care.
This rings true given the costs of dental procedures. For instance, dentures can cost $400 to $600.
If you want to kill the pain and save your tooth, consider shelling out $300 and $2000 for root canal treatment. Crown, a separate but subsequent procedure to root canal, is estimated to cost $500 and $3000.
Imagine the hole more complicated dental procedures will create in your pocket if you don’t have any dental insurance.
Buying Dental Insurance Plans
If you are not a member of any group dental insurance package, where do you start looking for your own policy?
You can look up various insurers that offer individual dental insurance plans. There are many out there offering differing coverage at differing costs.
Regular insurance costs run $350 a year per Bankrate. Based on the article, dental insurance is typically offered via HMO which requires you to consult a dentist within its network of providers, PPO where you may be allowed to visit dentists outside of the network provided, and indemnity plan where you visit any dentist and a percentage of the cost is picked up by the plan.
There are limits on the services covered by your standard dental insurance or even Medicare for older Americans. These can be covered by dental savings plan, according to NADP. But these dental savings plans are not insurance policies.
Consider placing a premium on your dental health this year, it might just save you a lot of trouble later on.