The task of choosing one of many dental discount plans that's right for you can be daunting, to say the least. That's because there are many companies offering plans that are not all they're cranked up to be.
And because there are so many companies out there hawking family dental plans and making over-inflated claims about how much you can save, I have to remind you of an old adage. . .
"If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. "
Keep in mind that dental discount plans are not insurance, and you are responsible for paying for your dental care services at the time the procedure is performed.
With that in mind, here are a few things you should consider when looking for a company with a good plan.
- How long has the company been in business? A good rule of thumb is to choose a company that's been around for 10 years or more. Check to see if the company is a member of the Better Business Bureau. When you call, inquire about the company's rating and ask about complaints against the company. Keep in mind that just about all companies will have complaints. It's not necessarily the number of complaints that's important, especially if the company has hundreds of thousands of clients. What's more important is the nature of the complaint, how the company handled those complaints, and how far the company is willing to go to satisfy the customer.
Make Sure There are Enough Providers In Your Area. It won't do you much good if you sign up for a discount program and have to drive 50 or 60 miles to the nearest dentist. Especially in light of high fuel costs.
Beware of ads that don't list the name of the company offering the plan, or the providers associated with the plan.
You should be able to surf the Internet for information about the company and their list of providers, including addresses and phone numbers. If you're not able to check the company's provider list before you sign up, keep on pushing.
Does the plan include all dental procedures? Don't settle for a discount plan that does not include checkups, cosmetic dentistry, teeth whitening and orthodontics.
Make sure the company's plan accepts members with ongoing or pre-existing problems. This is very important. If the plan doesn't accept members with ongoing dental problems, keep looking.
How much of a discount can you expect? With the right plan your savings should range from 40% to 80%, with average savings in the 50% range.
How much does the plan cost? Don't pay more than $20 a month for a dental plan that includes the entire household.
Ask how much, if any, paperwork is involved. There should be no paperwork for you to fill out when you join the plan, and absolutely no health questions to answer.
Ask about age limitations. The good plans don't impose age or health limitations. It doesn't matter how young or how old you are or whether or not you have pre-existing medical conditions.
Is there a number you can call for more information- before you sign up? There should be a convenient 800 number for you to call for answers to any question you might have.
I must repeat, dental discount plans are NOT INSURANCE, and you are responsible for paying for all services at the time the procedure is performed. But talk to your dentist prior to having any work done, because some dentists will work with you on a monthly payment plan.
Remember, with dental discount plans you can only see a dentist who is part of the plan's network of providers. If your favorite dentist is not on the provider list, ask him if he would be interested in joining the network and becoming a discount dental plan provider.
And consider this. . .
If you don't have dental insurance, for whatever reason, you'll have to pay for your services anyway. With a dental discount plan, you. ll pay only about half as much, in many cases.
Mike Griffith is a freelance writer of 22 years from Dallas, TX. He's also an independent distributor for a major discount plan company. He has researched and investigated more than 30 companies selling discount health and dental plans and has written his findings in more than 40 articles on his website, including how to avoid being scammed by an unscrupulous company. For more information about discount dental and health plans, including his recommendations for a good plan, visit him at http://www.ourdiscountdentalplan.com