This article covers Cheap Full Coverage Dental Insurance With No Waiting Period. When I transitioned from a full-time job to being self-employed, one of the biggest hurdles I faced was finding low-cost health insurance. Finding affordable dental insurance proved to be even more difficult. First, I couldn’t find any dental insurance with benefits comparable to what I was getting from my full-time job. Second, even insurance with very basic coverage cost over a thousand dollars per year for two people. Reading the fine print, I discovered that benefits were capped at a thousand dollars! Why would I want such a product? I decided to dig deeper to see how I could find affordable dental insurance and make dental care cheaper. Here is what I found.
How to find affordable dental insurance: Comparison shop: Like any other type of insurance, start by comparing the coverage and premiums of different plans. Sites like Dentalplans.com or eHealthinsurance.com are good places to start.
Check with your dentist: A lot of dentists now offer savings plans. My dentist offers a plan called SmileMore Dental Savings Plan. For about $200 a year, I can get as many cleanings as I want (for $10 each), free exams and x-rays. If I want any other procedures done, like crowns or dental implants, I can get them done at a 25 percent discount. If your dental health is very good, this might be a great option.
Check your alma mater: My school sends me a letter every year asking for donations. The letter always accompanies a list of benefits I receive as an alumnus, one of them being group dental insurance. I asked for a quote using the group discount and found that, while it was not the cheapest, it definitely brought the rate down significantly.
Check trade-related associations: Are you part of any professional associations? A lot of them offer group discounts for their members. For example, freelancers union offers group dental insurance at a discounted cost to their members. This ended up being the best option for me.
Have a warehouse club membership? Check their benefits: When I lived in California, I had an option of purchasing dental insurance via Costco. At this time, they only offer this benefit to residents of California. Sams Club doesn’t seem to offer dental insurance, but they have a dental plan that offers a significant discount if you use one of the covered dentists.
Check the new health care marketplace: Dental insurance is not mandatory, so it is not offered by all the states’ marketplaces. Among the states that offer dental insurance, some include it as part of health insurance and some offer it as a standalone product.
Work part time for benefits: If I want the best coverage for a reasonable cost, unfortunately, this is the best option. A lot of companies offer insurance benefits for part-time employees. Even if they don’t pay the premium, the group discount alone could save you a lot.
Make use of a Health Savings Plan or Flexible Spending Account if you have access to them.
Get the procedures done at a dental school: If you don’t mind being treated by students — they will be supervised — you can use dental schools that offer free or discounted care to the public. You can use the American Dental Association site to find a school close to you.
Negotiate the cost of the procedure: As with any type of medical care, you should never assume the price quoted for a particular service is the final price. Check for the average cost of the procedure you are looking to get done in your area. I used the FAIR Health Consumer and Health Care Blue Book to get an estimate. Ask your dentist to match that amount or give an explanation on why it is different.
Ask for discounts: Ask your dentist if they offer any discount for paying in cash or paying in full.
Don’t miss the health insurance deduction if you are self-employed: This is not a way to get cheaper dental insurance; but deducting the premium you pay for yourself and your family from your income will save money in taxes, essentially making the insurance itself a little cheaper.
Consider free and low-cost health clinics: Some community health clinics also offer dental care on a sliding-fee basis. Call your county health department to find if there are any such clinics nearby.
Look for special programs: This option will depend on your eligibility. There are organizations like Smiles Change Lives, which connect low-income families with charitable orthodontists. Do some research and see if there are any programs that will help you to make your specific procedure more affordable.
Go abroad: In some cases it might be worth it to consider crossing the border to get dental care, especially if you are in one of the border states.
Take good care of your teeth: Prevention is the best way to save money on any health issue. Schedule your regular cleaning and exam once a year (latest research shows once a year is as effective as biannual cleaning recommended by the dentists). Identify problem areas and take care of them before it gets serious.
Have you ever bought dental insurance on the open market? What kind of plan did you purchase? How did you find an affordable option?
As a senior citizen, you probably already understand the importance of taking care of your teeth. You also probably know about the numerous problems that can result if you neglect them.
However, paying for proper dental care isn't cheap. Most of us rely on dental insurance to help pay for some of the expense of dental care. But for seniors, many of the available health insurance plans, including "original Medicare," lack dental coverage. This often means that seniors have to shop for new dental plans or supplementary coverage. We asked financial advisers and insurance agents to give their best tips for finding a cost-effective plan that is tailored to your needs and tips for getting the most out of your coverage as a senior.
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Don't wait until you need to get a root canal to buy dental insurance. “For many dental insurance companies, there is a waiting period for coverage to take effect, so buying insurance well in advance of treatment is advised,” said Peter Young, a life insurance agent and principal of Independent Income Advisors.
"Typically, cleaning is covered right away, fillings after six months and root canals and crowns after 12 months," Young said. (To learn more, see How To Get Dental Insurance.)
Find A Dentist In Your Network
Since most dental plans are Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs), to maximize your benefits, be sure to find a dentist in the network. If you have a favorite dentist already, find out which plan he or she participates in. “You can check the directory on your insurance company's website to see who participates in your PPO,” Young said. (To learn more, check out A Useful Guide On The Key Differences Between A PPO And An HMO.)
Make Sure That You Understand The Coverage That You're Buying
Full Coverage Dental Insurance No Waiting Period For Major Services policies vary widely, so you need to make sure that you read the fine print.
"Some plans pay the 'reasonable and customary' fee, while some plans pay a flat amount depending on the treatment," Young said. "Some pay only for cleanings, but offer a discount for other treatments if you go to an in-network dentist."
Look Into Plans That Cover Only The Benefits You Need
In order to save money, seniors should "choose a plan that covers only the benefits they may use," said Ray Snyder, a retired account representative for Delta Dental. Not many in the over 65 crowd will be in the market for braces, so look for plans that don't include orthodontic coverage, but do cover periodontics. Make sure to choose a plan that only offers the limited set of services that you really need.
Don't Rely On "Original Medicare"
"Original Medicare (otherwise known as Parts A and B) and MediGap plans don't cover routine dental cleanings and procedures such as fillings and crowns,” said Ross Blair, CEO of PlanPrescriber, a site that helps people compare the variety of available Medicare plans. (For more information, see What Medicare Covers: Health Coverage For When You Retire.)
"If you have a medical emergency that involves your teeth, Medicare parts A and B may cover those emergency costs, depending on what services you need and who performs them," he said. And MediGap would likely cover out-of-pocket costs for such emergencies -- but would not give you the comprehensive coverage you might be looking for.
Look Into Medicare Advantage Plans
Many Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans provide dental and vision benefits. If you already participate with one of these plans, it might be to your advantage to see if dental benefits are already covered or seek a plan that includes it.
"Check to see if the Medicare Advantage plan provides dental coverage before you buy a separate dental insurance policy," Blair said.
"Medicare Advantage plans must, at a minimum, provide the same basic benefits as Medicare parts A & B, as well as have a clearly defined provider network and a $6,700 cap on your out-of-pocket expenses," he said. "But, most do also include a prescription drug benefit and many include additional benefits like vision and dental coverage."
Some people claim that Medicare plans cost as little as half the price of regular senior dental plans, so they are worth exploring.
Get To Know Your Real Costs
Most dental insurance plans involve co-pays, deductibles and coinsurance which may translate into additional out-of-pocket costs to you.
"Be sure to know how much you'll spend for regular check-ups or emergency dental work," Blair said. And keep in mind that procedures such as crowns and root canals may have higher deductibles and co-pays associated with them.
Looking For Veneers Or Whitening Treatments?
Teeth whitening, veneers or dental implants probably will not be covered through a senior dental insurance plan.
"There may be plans out there that provide those benefits, but they're not the norm," Blair said.
If you’re in the market for senior dental insurance, your first step is to look into any existing coverage you already have through a Medicare Advantage plan. Then research plans by reading literature or comparing plans online. Don’t forget to ask your friends and neighbors about which plans they like or which ones they have steered away from.
Before long, those pearly whites will be getting the attention they need.
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