Dental Insurance

Choosing the Right Dental Insurance to Fit You

Whether you are choosing dental insurance for yourself, your family, or your employees, knowing the advantages and disadvantages of each type of insurance will greatly aid you in selecting the proper plan to suit your company's needs. All dental insurance plans are not created equal and it seems that many times the plan's specific regulations, rules and thing that are either covered or not covered are so densely written and packed with legalese as to be quite impossible for the layperson to understand.

Generally speaking, dental coverage falls into two categories. While there are differences and variations between each particular plan, most can be divided two ways:

Managed Care – these plans are somewhat restrictive in the way that they operate; limiting you to a list of specific dentists and generally requiring you to select the cheaper options available. Generally organized as a preferred provider organization (PPO), an advantage to these plans is that they are generally much less expensive than comparable plans, such as indemnity plans, which allow you somewhat more freedom in choosing from different procedures and providers. Two important considerations when selecting a PPO provider are:

1. Whether or not this plan provides enough dentists in my area to adequately cover all people living in the area and what if the nearest provider is an inconvenient distance away?
2. Will this plan cover emergency procedures (chipped teeth, lost fillings, etc.) when my preferred provider is not available or I am out of my providers' area?

Fee-for-Service – these plans generally allow you almost complete freedom in choosing your dental care provider and the procedures that you want to have done. This plan, while allowing you a great deal more freedom, may be somewhat more expensive than a managed care plan, and may have higher deductibles for certain procedures than others. While most other forms of plans will have a monthly plan paid by either the employer, the employee, or jointly, a fee-for-service plan charges the policyholder only for actual services rendered, greatly reducing the overall cost of the plan. This is the preferred by the American Dental Association.

For more questions or to learn more about any of these type of dental plans, especially about the fee-for-service plans, contact the ADA at www.ada.org.

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