Dental Insurance vs. Dental Discount Plans: Great Savings

Many people put off seeing a dentist for essential treatment because they can’t afford it. With the dental costs rising, that’s understood. However, fees can differ greatly based on insurers and where you live. Dental insurance and dental discount plans are both ways to save on out-of-pocket expenses. Explore which option is best for you with the help of an agent.

Dental Insurance Plans

There are three categories of dental insurance plans, which have specific rules and benefits:

  • Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO): These have the lowest premiums, may not have an annual maximum, and place no limit on annual dental services. Nevertheless, they may limit the dentists you can see.
  • Dental Preferred Provider Organization (DPPO): These plans cover most of the services you receive from dentists on your plan’s list. However, they will cover less for the services you receive outside your plan. DPPOs have an annual maximum for coverage, higher premiums, and deductibles than DHMOs. Once you reached the yearly maximum, you will pay the remaining amount at a discounted rate.
  • Dental Indemnity Insurance: These plans have the highest premiums and require deductibles and copayments. After your insurer pays the claim, you will pay the remaining balance up based on your dentist’s typical fees.  

Dental insurance plans generally cover 100% of two preventive care visits annually, which include routine cleanings, X-rays, exams, topical fluoride, and sealants. It can also help you save on fillings, extractions, crowns, and root canals. Some plans may cost only $15 a month with annual maximum coverage of $750 to $1,500.

Dental Discount Plans

Dental plans are separate arrangements from dental insurance plans. Dental plans can make some services and procedures budget-friendly for you and the whole family. Individual plans will cost $120 and family plans will cost $169. These plans usually have lower annual fees than dental insurance, and patients get a 10% discount on dental services. There are no waiting periods like dental insurance plans. Dental discount plans generally don’t cover more than half of the procedure or cost of your dentist visit.

Bundle Up Plans to Save

You may combine dental insurance with a dental discount plan, but this up to your dentist. Once the maximum on your dental insurance is reached, you can use your dental discount plan to reduce the remaining out-of-pocket dental care costs.

You can also bundle a dental discount plan with a vision plan to save money. It’s typical to see these plans combined to provide a discount. The downside is bundle plans don’t provide in-depth benefits, neither with vision nor with dental coverage.

Which Plan Is More Affordable?

While your dental insurance’s monthly premiums may be higher, most insurers cover 100% of procedures as well as dental visits up to the maximum limit, and after the deductible when there is one. However, if you need expensive procedures, you may pay more out-of-pocket with a discount plan. In a nutshell, you will pay less with dental insurance, but if your dentist is out-of-network, you may only receive limited coverage. In other words, consider the benefits and drawbacks and choose what works for you.

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