Most dental plans cover average expenses – cleanings, perhaps a cavity or two. But when something unexpected comes up, like a root canal or other complicated procedures, you may have to pay out of pocket. Some dentists, like Dr. Smith of Aurora Dental Care, offer payment plans and special offers. But it’s important to take control of your health care and understand what your plan covers and what it doesn’t.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the ins and outs of health insurance. There are two types of dental insurance plans: PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) and HMO (Health Maintenance Organization).
Things to know about PPOs
- Preventative services are usually fully covered, other services are usually paid at a certain percentage of the contracted fees between the insurance policy and the office.
- Annual coverage limits of $1,000 to $2,000 are common.
- Deductibles are often applied in addition to monthly premiums.
Things to know about HMOs
- They have lower premiums.
- You must pay fixed co-payments for your treatments. This amount is determined by the plan you belong to.
- Deductibles and benefit maximums are not common.
- Only about 10% of dentists accept HMOs.
There are obvious benefits and drawbacks to both types of plans, but how can you maximize your coverage no matter what plan you’re on?
1. Exercise good timing
Sometimes insurance plans have coverage limits for certain services. Get around them with this scrappy tip. Let’s say that you need 4 fillings and 2 crowns, but your plan only covers 2 fillings and 1 crown per year. Visit the dentist toward the end of the year to take care of half your procedures. Then, wait until your benefits renew before you have the rest done. Spreading your services across across visits is common if you need a lot done, but don’t hold out for too long. A minor problem with a dental solution could turn ugly fast. This strategy also works best if you’re proactive with your dental health. So be sure to come in to Aurora Dental Care for regular checkups.
2. Shop around
Loyalty to a long-time dentist is wonderful, but there’s no harm in shopping around. Especially if your circumstances require that you find the best deal, or if your plan offers a new pool of doctors to choose from. Decide what it is you need and compare cost of services with dentists in your area. Factor in convenience – your time is valuable, too. If you decide to switch to a dentist who can offer a better deal, great. If you realize you prefer your original dentist’s technique or chairside manner, you can always go back. It’s a win-win for the patient, and worth the potential savings and peace of mind.
3. Have an honest conversation with your doctor
Between the cost of care and the assumption that dental work is low priority, many people neglect their oral health or avoid the dentist altogether. But we wouldn’t break an arm and then tell the doctor that we’ll deal with it later. Your oral health is important and has an affect on your overall health as well. Dentists understand this. And many, Dr. Smith included, can offer payment plans and discounts if you’re upfront about your financial situation. Making your health a priority is the best thing you can do for yourself. And investing in preventative care will lead to lower costs in the long run.
Don’t forget to do your homework
Dental insurance and coverage can be confusing, but you shouldn’t be intimidated. Figure out what your dental needs are, learn what services different plans offer, and choose the one that best suits you. Remember, it’s your job to figure out what services your plan covers, so be proactive and do your homework. If you have your heart set on a dentist, you can call their office or visit their website to see which insurances they accept. And if you’re in Seattle, Washington, feel free to visit Dr. Smith at Aurora Dental Care. At Aurora, we have a passionate team dedicated to getting you the care you need within your budget. Our list of accepted insurances include:
- Delta Dental
- BlueCross BlueShield
- Principal Financial Group
- Connection Dental
Call us at (206) 729-0273 and start your dental care treatment today!