Dental Discount Plans vs Dental Insurance Plans

Dental discount plans do differ from dental insurance plans. Knowing the difference goes a long way in helping pick dental coverage that you can afford on both ends. Most people are familiar with the concept of dental insurance. Dental discount plans are newer and therefore are overlooked by those needing help paying their dental bills.

General Procedure with Dental Insurance

Whether you get your dental insurance plan through your employer or must pay for it out of your own pocket, dental insurance pays for a portion of your dental cost. You pay weekly or monthly premiums and visit an approved dentist.

Depending on the type of insurance, you may be required to pay your dentist bill up front and wait for a reimbursement check or you may simply pay your percentage and the dentist bills your dental insurance company.

With dental insurance, they usually pay for one or two free cleanings per year as a means of preventing cavities and other costly oral problems. Items like fillings, crowns and braces require you to pay a percentage and the dental insurer covers the rest. With Dental Dental, one of the nation's leading dental insurance companies, they usually pay 80 percent for fillings and 50 percent for root canals, crowns and braces. They will not pay any percentage towards procedures they feel are cosmetic like teeth whitening and veneers.

Why Dental Discount Plans Differ

Dental discount plans also require you to pay a monthly or yearly premium. The cost to join a dental discount plan depends on the coverage. On average, expect to pay $100 to $150 per year for a single person or $150 to $200 a year for families.

Once you've joined a dental discount plan, you visit a participating dentist. Make sure the dentist accepts the dental discount plan, not every dentist will. At that dentist's office, you get a discounted price on any dental treatment offered. For example, with CIGNA's Preferred Network Access, a routine dental check-up will cost $30 instead of the usual $60. It's a savings of 50 percent.

Benefits to a Dental Discount Plan

With traditional dental insurance, many procedures are usually excluded if you reach a certain age or use resin versus metal filling materials. If you decide as an adult to have your teeth sealed to prevent cavities, coverage is denied under most dental insurance plans. With a dental discount plan, you can have your teeth sealed regardless of your age.

Traditional dental insurance also limits the amount of coverage you are entitled to per year. If you have a $1,000 yearly limit, one root canal and crown often exceed the maximum benefit limit and you'll pay a lot out of pocket. There are no limits with dental discount plans. You can get the treatments you need without worry about going over any pre-established limits.

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