Should You Bite On Dental Insurance?
Dental insurance can waste your money if your plan doesn’t match your needs.
BY AMY FONTINELLE Updated Feb 26, 2019
There’s no question that dental work is expensive—especially when you need to have major work done. If you’re not covered through your job, you may have to purchase it on your own. However, purchased individually, dental insurance can be a waste of money if your plan doesn’t match your needs. In this article, we’ll show you how to drill through these plans to find out if dental insurance is right for you.
Overview of Dental Insurance
First, here’s a breakdown of how individual dental insurance works. You select a plan based on the providers (dentists) you want to be able to visit and what you can afford to pay.
- If you already have a dentist you like and they are in the insurance company’s network, you’ll be able to opt for one of the less expensive plans
- If you don’t have a dentist at all, great! You can choose from any of the dentists who are in-network and again have the option of a less expensive plan.
- If your existing dentist is not in the network, you can still get insurance, but you’ll pay significantly more to see an out-of-network provider—so much more that you may not have any chance at coming out ahead by being insured.
The monthly premiums will depend on the insurance company, your location, and the plan you choose. For many people, the monthly premium will be around $50 a month. This means that you’re spending $600 on dental costs each year even if you don’t get any work done.
Things to Consider
Now, you may be thinking that most people don’t come out ahead with most kinds of insurance, and you may be right. After all, if insurance companies didn’t make a profit, they would all go out of business. Insurance is designed to protect you in a worst-case scenario. Dental insurance is significantly different from most other kinds of insurance, however. With policies like health insurance or homeowners insurance, the potential downside is so high that almost no one can afford the risk of not being insured. With dental insurance, the potential downside is fairly low—and so is the potential upside.
In a good year when you only need the standard cleanings, exams, and X-rays that make up good preventive care, you could lose money by having dental insurance. For example, if you paid out of pocket for these services, you might spend around $400 for the year, whereas you might spend $600 for the year on insurance premiums.
Will It Be There When You Need It?…
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