Buying dental insurance can be immensely important, but what you really need is a plan that fits your needs. Some insurance coverages can be expensive, offering things that you’re never going to need. Other oral insurance plans can be much more reasonable and offer the services that you’re going to use regularly.
Let’s look at some numbers: whether you’re buying dental insurance through your employer or independently, dental insurance monthly premiums will cost somewhere between $40-$60 per month. That means that you’re spending around $600 in 12 months on dental insurance, whether you use it or not.
So what’s the answer? Well, if you care about your teeth then you’re probably going to want some form of dental insurance. Your mouth health can affect everything from your gut health to your mental health, so making sure that you take care of your teeth is something that is essential. Will you need $600 per year in coverage? That’s a question you’ll need to weigh against your dental history and your family’s needs. But you’re going to need something, just to be on the safe side.
The answer is going to be getting the best dental insurance at the best price–because we know it can be expensive. So how do you solve that problem? How do you get necessary medical care for your mouth without breaking the bank?
Why Is Dental Insurance So Expensive?
Insurance companies are good for dentists because they bring new patients into the dentist’s office (most people have dental insurance and then look to see which dentists accept their coverage and pick one that does). But insurance companies then put the squeeze on the dentist, giving them little reimbursement and sometimes not paying for procedures altogether.
If you’re in a unique situation, you may wonder about the efficacy of dental coverage. Is dental coverage worth it for the self-employed?
Although if you know a dentist you may see it as a very profitable business that can make the dentist a lot of money. And that’s true—in some cases. But there is so much overhead that goes into a oral practice and, unfortunately, much of that money is not coming from the insurance companies and into the dentist’s office accounts receivables.
As a result, patients get the brunt of dental care costs. The dentist’s office takes their cut, and the insurance company pays back some, but most of the cost gets passed onto the consumer.
Is Dental Insurance Worth It for Seniors?
Is this type of coverage worth it in retirement? It depends. Most of these insurance plans for seniors will cover 100% of preventative care, like cleanings, exams, and x-rays. But the dental plans only cover a small portion of other important types of care like fillings, root canals, and, especially important for seniors—crowns, implants, and dentures.
Seniors are more likely than younger people to have poor dental health: gum disease, tooth decay, and lost teeth. According to one study from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 53% of seniors have said they’ve had to delay or go without dental care because of high cost.
It’s important to note that for most Medicare plans, dental coverage is not part of the program. Medicare Parts A and B do not cover dental work. Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) may involve dental plans.