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What You Should Know About Dental Insurance


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Did you know that medical and dental insurance are not the same insurance? Since most dental diseases are preventable, many dental insurance plans focus on preventative care. Medical diseases are often unpredictable and sudden. Therefore, medical insurance covers the expenses of diagnosing and treating illnesses.

If you have medical insurance, you may not have dental insurance, and if you do, it may not be sufficient coverage. This is where supplemental dental insurance comes in to play.

Some dental plans allow you to receive your dental care from any dentist you choose, often referred to as an “open panels. " Other dental plans are called “closed panels" because you must choose your dentist from a specific list of providers. There are two main types of closed panels. One type of closed panel plan is a Preferred Provider Organization or PPO. This is when you receive dental care from a provider who is on your plan's list, or “in network, " you are charged lower fees than if you choose a dentist from out of the network.

The Exclusive Provider Organization, or EPO, is the second closed panel plan. In this plan, you are only allowed to receive your dental care from a provider from a participating dentist. In some cases, there are exceptions for emergencies or when traveling, but generally, any care received from a dentist outside of the network will not be covered by the plan.

Supplemental dental insurance plans are also different in how the payment is made to the dentist. Some plans may require you to pay a certain percentage of the dentist's fees when services are received. Other plans require you to pay a set co-payment. In some cases, you will need to pay the entire cost of the dental services yourself and then be reimbursed later by your insurance provider.

There are several questions you should ask when considering supplemental dental insurance.

1. Am I limited to a certain list of providers or can I choose my own dentist? This is an important issue to consider, especially if you already have a dentist with whom you are satisfied.

2. How do I pay for my dental services? Be sure you understand whether your plan requires you to make co-payments, charges you a fixed percentage, or requires you to pay for all of your services before reimbursement.

3. What services are covered by my plan? When do theses services begin? How often may I receive these services? Some supplementary dental plans allow preventative and diagnostic benefits to begin immediately while requiring a waiting period before other benefits begin. The waiting period often depends upon the service.

Choosing a quality supplemental dental plan may seem like a difficult task, but it is an important one. You should take the time to read every detail. Ask your plan's administrator questions you may have. The more you learn about your supplemental dental insurance options, the better choices you will make.

To find the best supplemental dental insurance plan requires some time and effort. is a great place to compare plans, benefits, and costs. You can even enroll online if you find what you are looking for. GE, Aetna, Patriot, and Unicare are some of the dental insurance plans compared at


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