Many individuals won’t skimp on what they consider essential medical care. However, dental care is the most frequent health cost consumers skip to save money – despite the fact that dental care is critical to good health. The challenge is the additional increasing cost. According to the Consumer Health Alliance, dental care costs increase about 5% annually.
Still, dental coverage can offer significant savings, and you may be able to receive dental insurance through your employer at a decent rate. For example, CostHelper.com reports the average cost of a root canal and crown without dental insurance is about $1,200. With insurance, the average drops to around $650.
Many dental plans are available, with varied coverage. Basic plans usually require a co-pay and cover two cleanings per year, which average $127 without insurance. Most plans cap coverage at a preset annual limit. Other types of plans may be more generous, so it’s a good idea to check with your local agent for more information on available plans.
The next step is finding a dentist. Remember, you must be sure your provider is in your plan. HMO or PPO plans restrict you to specific dentists. You can visit out-of-network dentists on some PPO plans but will receive reduced benefits. Dental indemnity plans are the most comprehensive option, allowing you to visit any dentist. They typically cover between 50% and 80% of the visit’s cost.
Whichever plan you choose, be sure it covers any specialty work you might need. Many dentists now replace missing teeth with implants in lieu of bridges. Orthodontia can also be expensive. Additionally, keep in mind that Medicare doesn’t cover most dental procedures unless you receive certain services while hospitalized.
Navigating on your own, the options for dental coverage can feel overwhelming, but your agent can provide a no-obligation quote and explain the pros and cons of various plans.