Frequently Asked Dental Questions
Why does my dental insurance only provide $1,000 of coverage a year?
In the mid 1960's, increased competition forced the insurance companies to start offering other services in addition to medical insurance. Many companies started offering $1,000 worth of annual dental insurance to sweeten the pot, so to speak. Over the past forty years, we have seen some plans increase their coverage to $1,500 or $2,000, but a majority still only provide $1,000 of annual coverage. If these plans had kept up with the rate of inflation, they should be offering $6,000 worth of coverage. Why the insurance companies haven't increased the annual benefit is anyone's guess. It is safe to assume that your dental health is not one of those reasons.
My dental insurance policy states that they pay 50% for major coverage. Why isn't that 50% of your office's fee?
The insurance companies use a term "Usual, Customary, and Reasonable" or "UCR". We really don't know how they come up with fees, but one thing is for sure they don't adjust these fees for rates of inflation or new technology. There are some insurance companies that haven't adjusted their fees in many years, which explains why they haven't raised their annual benefit in 40 years either. Our fees reflect the time, technology and experience necessary to provide quality dental care in the 21st century. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide high level dental care at fees determined by many dental insurance companies.
My employer is dropping dental insurance coverage, should I purchase private dental coverage?
Some companies still offer dental insurance coverage, but will defer the cost to the employee. This can be very expensive; some plans can cost $400-$600 annually. Some companies are dropping coverage all together. Since most dental coverage plans offer $1,000-$2,000 of annual dental benefit as we discussed before it doesn't make much sense to pay $600 for $1,000 worth dental benefit. For most people in this situation it is far better to pay themselves the $600 and self-fund their own dental insurance. $600 would be more than enough to cover routine hygiene visits, x-ray and exams annually. If any other work is necessary, such as a few fillings or a crown, our office has some flexible financing plans that are very reasonable.
How does dental insurance differ from other types of insurance?
Dental insurance really isn't insurance at all. It is really just a benefit. When you purchase a car, you call your auto insurance carrier and are given a quote based on the type of vehicle you have purchased. Any time you submit a claim to your car insurance, the premium is adjusted higher. If you get a speeding ticket, or are in a car accident, the amount you pay goes up. If you use your auto insurance too much, the insurance company will stop coverage all together! With dental insurance, everybody has the same type of car. When you signed up for dental insurance, did they inquire about your current dental health or past dental history? A healthy mouth pays the same as an unhealthy mouth that may require extensive treatment. Each year you are allowed to up to $1,000 (or whatever limit your policy states) every year. This amount does not roll over into the next year. If you use all of it or none of it your premium stays the same. Auto, Health, Life, and Disability insurance are necessary for catastrophic events that could lead to financial ruin. Fortunately, there aren't too many catastrophic events that can happen to your mouth. Routine hygiene visits and check-ups can usually catch problems before they become catastrophes. Dental insurance is a benefit that provides $1,000-$2,000 towards dental care. Which means that dental insurance is the only type of insurance that doesn't provide coverage for major dental events, it is better used towards routine dental care. Think of dental insurance as a dental coupon, in which you can use toward your care.