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Different Types of Dental Insurance Plans



You might think that you don't need dental insurance. As long asyou brush, floss, and rinse regularly and forego foods with sugar and acid, youneedn't bother with pricy visits to the dentist. And even if you do go for anannual cleaning, the cost is a lot less than shelling out for insurance allyear. This is a great plan right up until you start getting a toothache. Thenyou're stuck paying full price for a filling, a root canal, or even a dentalimplant (which could range from hundreds to thousands of dollars inout-of-pocket expense). Suddenly a dental plan that involves insurance coverageis sounding pretty great, even if it costs you a few extra bucks a month. Butof course, you want to weigh the possibility of dental disaster against theimpact to your budget; in short you want the best coverage at the mostaffordable price. So here are just a few types of dental insurance plans youmay want to consider.

In truth, dental plans are similar to medical policies in thatthere are two main types: managed care and indemnity. You may have access tosuch options through benefits at your work (saving you quite a bit of money) oryou might have to find a way to pay for them on your own if your employerdoesn't provide dental as part of the company's health benefits package. Eitherway you have a major decision to make and it could impact both your oral careand your wallet.

The most important aspect of choosing a dentist for many people ishow comfortable they are with a practitioner. In some cases people are willingto pay more in order to have the option to go with their dentist of choice.This is the major benefit offered by an indemnity plan, although it will costyou more than a managed care plan and you still have to find out if your dentaloffice will accept your insurance (often they are just as picky about theinsurance providers they accept as a managed care plan is about the privatepractices they are willing to cover).

Of course, most managed care programs have plenty of dentists tochoose from within your area, any one of which may be suitable. So if you canlive with switching dentists to find one that is covered by your plan you'llend up paying less. And you may even be able to add your preferred dental practiceto the plan if there are no covered offices within a certain distance of yourresidence. Keep in mind that you can probably lower your monthly costs byselecting a policy with a higher annual deductible, a lower cap for yearlycoverage, or inclusion of only limited procedures, for example.

Finally, you can look into discount dental coverage, which isprovided by independent agencies (as in you will have to seek it out on yourown). Many offer only limited coverage, say half the cost of cleanings and certainnecessary medical expenses (up to a certain amount), but your monthly paymentswill be quite low. You may also be able to find some sort of state coverageplan if you fit into a low-income bracket (check with your state healthdepartment) and with healthcare reform in the works you might even be eligiblefor some sort of publicliability coverage soon. Thepoint is that there are many options to choose from, depending on what you wantand how much you're willing (or able) to spend. So there's really no need to gowithout the coverage that could spare you major expense in the long run.

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