Finding an affordable dental insurance plan that covers what you need can be tricky, but it’s helpful to know the difference between “must-have” and “nice-to-have” when it comes to coverage.
“There are thousands of dental insurance plans, and each one is a little different from the next,” says dentist Gary Glassman. “It’s important to be a smart consumer and make it your job to understand the details of your dental insurance plan.”
Here are some tips on what your plan should include:
When doing your research, it’s important to understand that most dental insurance classifies dental procedures as preventive, basic and major, Glassman says. “Most dental insurance will cover at least preventive and basic procedures, but the amount of coverage will vary from carrier to carrier and plan to plan.”
Glassman recommends looking back at how much care you’ve required in the past so you can predict how much you might need in the future. “If you’re young and have healthy teeth and gums, you can easily find a dental insurance plan to cover 100% of preventive dental care, including semi-annual checkups and cleanings,” Glassman says. “By focusing on obtaining and using coverage for these routine procedures, you can help prevent the need for more extensive procedures like root canals in the future.”
While not covered at 100%, most plans will offer some coverage for more invasive procedures. Fillings and root canals are some of the procedures you might need but have to pay more of the cost for, Glassman says. Your dentist may also at some point recommend extractions, crowns or removable partial dentures, but you may have to pay a larger percentage of the cost for those than for preventive care.
Prevention is key when it comes to dental health, but it’s also important to be prepared for injuries and disease down the line. “A major dental procedure can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars, and you can easily max out your insurance in one trip,” Glassman says.
A strong network of providers
A great affordable dental plan is about more than what it covers — it’s also about who provides your treatment, Glassman says.
“If you have a favorite dentist you’d like to keep seeing, check with that dentist about which networks he or she belongs to,” he says. Some plans will even let you refer your dentist to its network if he or she isn’t already in it.
Excellent customer service
Once you’ve compared the coverage and selected an affordable dental insurance plan, make sure you consider how the company treats its policyholders. Check how the customer service area is accessible —phone, online, Mobil App — and make sure those options fit your needs and preferences.
If you can, find out how the company operates and the importance it places on customer service. This information might be available on the company’s website. For instance, Starmount’s customer service department is in the same building and on the same floor with the company’s claims department, underwriters, provider relations team and other business executives. That means the customer service representatives can regularly meet with other departments face-to-face, fostering a powerful customer-focused culture in which employees hold each other accountable for delivering the highest standards of customer service.
This post is based on content that first appeared in SmileInSight.