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Insider's Guide to Dental Insurance


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Would you like a dental plan for your entire family that costs less than $200 a year and can save you thousands on your dental bills? Take a few minutes and read through this brief article. It might give you a new insight on dental insurance and save you some money.

I know that you would you like a PPO dental plan with no waiting period that will cover all of your dental work. But, if you have tried to find one, you already know that such a plan does not exist. The PPO dental plans that are available are absurdly expensive, will not cover major dental work for one year and have a cap of $1,000 or less.

If you are a careful shopper and do the simple math, you will realize that unless you need a significant amount of dental work for the next few years, you will come up on the short end of the stick each and every time.

The companies that sell dental insurance and dental plans make an enormous profit on the plans. They do this by using the following methods, which you should be aware of:

  1. They do not cover major dental work for at least one year. On some plans, they will make you wait 6 months to a year before they will even cover a filling. Or they will cover major work at a reduced rate (i. e. 10% coverage) during the first year and then advertise “no waiting period".
  2. They put a cap on the amount they will pay out in a year. Usually it is $750 to $1,000.
  3. Most plans have deductibles. That way, you pay for most of your cleaning or routine checkup.
  4. They sometimes use a “usual and customary" payment schedule. In other words, they pay out $35 for the $75 cleaning.

However, in spite of all these loopholes, there is one type of plan that still makes sense.

Let me say a word about dentists before I continue.

It should come as no surprise that any dental or medical practice is first and foremost a business. You cannot blame the dentist for operating his or her practice in a way that will yield the highest profits. Dentistry is hard work. They do not sit around taking your medical history and ordering tests. It is a physical job.

I do not want to tell you that you should change dentists just to get a discount. That is up to you. But, many dentists will not accept any type of discount plan at all. If your dentist wants to charge you $1600 for a crown and a root canal and you can have it done for half that amount with a dentist who accepts the network fee schedule, you have a difficult decision to make.

Why I Like Discount Plans

I am a coupon guy. Yes, I admit it. I clip coupons for things I buy regularly and love the restaurant coupons. “Buy one and get on free" gets my attention. So, it is natural that I am attracted to dental discount plans. But, there is plenty to like about them.

- These plans generally cost less than $15.00 a month for the entire family. If you use a dentist in the network, you will get significant savings on all of your dental expenses.

- Some plans offer free cleanings, exam and/or x-rays.

- There are no waiting periods. You can buy the plan and in a few days visit the dentist.

- There are network dentists in most states and cities.

The Downside

If your dentist told you to find a PPO dental plan because that is all they will take, your dentist will probably not be a discount plan network. You will either need to find a new dentist or reach into your savings.

Specialists are not included in the discount schedule. You will find fine print that says network specialist offer a flat 20% discount. Still, better than nothing.

That is it. There are no other negatives that I can think of. It is like having a “Buy One, Get One Free" coupon for the dentist.

Finding a Discount Dental Plan

Fortunately, there are literally dozens of discount dental plans. Some are regional and work best in a particular city or state. Others use large national networks.

The best site we have found for dental plans is dentalplanadvisor. Just put the www before it and the dot com after it to go directly to the website. Or you can find the address in the resource box at the bottom of this article. They have numerous dental plans including discount networks.

Martin Unger is a nationally known expert in health insurance. He started one of the first online health insurance agencies in the United States.

For more information on this topic, go to or call the author at 800-986-4786.


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