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It's very common for dental and/or vision insurance to be among available employee benefits, and when that's the case, it may be relatively easy to decide on a policy-type. But, what if you need to shop for individual dental insurance? What are the factors to consider in making your choice?
After all, your teeth are very valuable to you, and dental health has a big impact on overall health. Plus, ordinary health insurance doesn't usually cover dental procedures - so dental insurance is a necessary supplement to your health insurance.
First Step: See If You Can Get Group Coverage
Even if dental insurance is not one of the employee benefits at your place of work, there may be other ways to get a lower premium, and avoid certain waiting periods for full coverage, through a group coverage plan.
If you belong to the AARP, for example, you can probably get group-discounted dental coverage. Military members may be able to buy a policy through TriCare. And kids might qualify for group dental plans via Medicaid.
Step Two: Get Help In Choosing A Plan
The majority of people find a way to qualify for a group-rate plan, but even if you don't, a good insurance agent can help you find an affordably priced individual policy.
There are many different kinds of dental plans, and there are often special rules to be aware of before signing on the dotted line. For example, a wait period for major procedures typically applies, and preexisting conditions will not be covered.
Also realize that dental insurance doesn't work like health insurance. It will only cover a certain percentage of most medium to high priced procedures, though dental check ups and minor procedures might get full coverage. So you have to comparison shop based on both premiums and the percentage of cover per particular procedure - which might be, say, 20%, 30%, or 50%.
Your dental insurance broker can help you plug in the numbers for specific scenarios and see how much you would pay under competing policies. He/she can also give you an idea of how likely you are to actually use the benefits of each policy, to facilitate an accurate cost-benefit analysis.
Final Step: Examine The Dental Network
If you find, with the help of your insurance agent, a few good possibilities on who should provide your dental insurance, how do you figure out which one to choose?
One major deciding factor is the dental network. How many dentists are in-network in the area in which you live? Are the offices conveniently located for you - near home or on your way to/from work? Do you already have a preferred dentist? If so, is he/she in the potential dental insurer's network of providers?
You may also want to examine each dentist in a particular network by looking at online reviews, BBB ratings, or even just asking friends, neighbors, relatives, and coworkers which dentist they would recommend. Your oral health can seriously impact your overall health and quality of life, so it’s important to find a provider that you trust.
Remember that it costs a lot more to get services out of network, and it would also defeat the purpose of having dental insurance to begin with. So consider a tough look at the network as a critical step in finally deciding on an insurer.
To learn more about how to select an appropriate dental insurance policy, feel free to contact Summerlin Benefits Consulting for some helpful, timely advice!