The Best Insurance…
“Doc, what is the best dental insurance to get?”
This is a common question, especially during open enrollment season.
The “best” dental insurance plan would be one that covers the best care that dentistry has to offer with minimal out-of-pocket expense to the patient. While we’re at it, the “best” insurance plan would clearly explain benefits to patients and their preferred doctors while paying claims in a timely manner. All this, while being affordable to patients and their employers, with little to no yearly change in premiums.
There is no such thing. It would not be feasible or sustainable for insurance companies, doctors, employers or you, the patient.
On the positive side, any insurance benefits are just that…benefits. A means to help patients receive the dental care that they want and need. Let the cup be half full. There are hundreds of thousands of people with no dental benefits. Maximize the benefits that are available.
As a general rule, dental insurance benefits have slowly whittled away with time. Fifty years ago, a maximum benefit of $1500 went a long way to fixing a lot of oral health problems. Today, that same $1500 maximum benefit is quite limiting. Inflation happened.
As a general rule, dental benefits today cover three basics. First, preventative care. On most plans, routine cleanings and dental x-rays are mostly paid for. Next, insurance benefits will often provide enough coverage for single tooth or single quadrant (one area of teeth) dentistry within a calendar year. One crown or one root canal or maybe a few fillings will be covered before the yearly maximum is exceeded. Finally, there is occasionally some type of lifetime maximum orthodontic benefit covering braces or retainers or bite problems.
The best dental insurance to get is one that someone else is paying for. If you work in a job where an employer is contributing money toward your insurance, then it is a better deal than paying for all of your dental care out of pocket. Most importantly, make sure to maximize those yearly benefits if treatment is needed during the year. They often disappear, never to return, on each New Year’s Day.
Until next week, keep smiling.
-Questions or comments can be sent to Drs. Parrish at www.ParrishDental.com.