What is your dental insurance worth to you?
Most standard dental insurance policies will cover a couple of routine visits to the dentist, x-rays and dental cleanings. This is the preventive part of dental care that most dental insurance companies are willing to invest. Preventive dental care eliminates/lessens the chances of major dental problems from developing. Since most dental problems can be prevented there is less need for expensive treatment later on. This works to the benefit of both you and the dental insurance company.
In case you need expensive treatment like root canals, dental implants, dentures and bridges etc, you insurance company will generally pay a percentage of the treatment cost and you will be required to pay the rest. The percentage the dental insurance company pays will vary from say 50 to 80 percent of your total cost. This depends on the type of policy and also the premium you are willing to pay yearly. Higher premium policies will cover a larger part of the cost of treatment.
No policy will usually cover 100 percent of the cost. You need to be prepared to pay at least part of your dental treatment costs. But in case you have dual cover say you are covered both under your employer’s dental cover and also that of your spouse, then you may be entitled to 100 percentage of dental cover. But you should get this clarified with both the dental insurance companies and any exclusion clauses that they might have.
Since, most major dental problems can cost a lot of money to treat it is safer to have dental insurance to reduce the financial burden . Most dental insurance will have annual limits on spending. It is rare to find a policy that does not restrict the amount you can spend in a year on dental treatment. So, if you need major procedures that exceed this annual limit discuss your options with your dentist and structure your treatment over two-three years to get maximum benefit from your plan. Most dental procedures can be done this way.
There is also the major disadvantage of some low cost dental insurance plans that will only allow “least expensive alternative treatment”(LEAT). This means that for any dental problem if you have 3 or 4 ways of treating it. Then the insurance policy will cover only the LEAT. If you opt for the more expensive but better treatment for your condition then you will have the pay the difference in costs. This clause severely restricts your chance of getting the right treatment for yourself and focusses on reducing the costs for the dental insurance company.