Insurance can potentially save you money over the long haul. Our dental practice in Columbia receives questions about how much will their dental insurance cover for treatment. Some patients without an employer sponsored plan ask if they should purchase an individual dental insurance policy. Typical policies can range from $25 to $75 a month (or more). Before you purchase one of these plans, you should understand how they work.
These plans typically divide dental procedures into three categories which determine how much they will pay and when:
- Preventative. These procedures include dental exams, x-rays and basic cleanings. Most policies will pay 80 – 100% of the total cost of these procedures and there is no waiting period. There is little to no out of pocket costs for the member.
- Basic Services. These procedures typically include fillings, simple extractions and periodontal cleanings. Most plans pay 50 – 80% of the cost of these procedures. However, there is typically a six-month waiting period before the insurance company will pay any of the cost. So, over that period, decay can continue to eat away at a tooth and periodontal disease may cause more bone loss and allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream which can lead to other medical issues.
- Major Services. These typically include crowns, root canals and surgical extractions and at best only cover half of the cost. The waiting period for these services is typically even longer: 12 months. This could mean that something a filling would take care of today may mean a more expensive and painful root canal and crown a year from now.
We do not advocate making oral health decisions based upon what your insurance will cover. However, we will can help you choose an individual policy to maximize your financial savings.
If you are considering an individual policy, you may want to consider our in-house insurance plan (PALS). There are no waiting periods and the enrollment fees are typically less than that of an individual policy. You may be able to save hundreds or thousands annually in the long run.
As always, our Columbia, SC dentists and team are ready to help you maintain your oral health. Please contact us if you need to schedule your checkup and cleaning or are having any issues.