Why Purchase a Dental Insurance Plan?

Having group dental insurance can save money and more, it can help promote good oral health and keep work productivity up. If you are considering whether or not to purchase a dental insurance plan, keep these facts in mind:

The Power of a Network

Dental PPO plans can save a lot of money through the use of a dental network. Dentists who are part of a network have agreed to provide dental services at a discounted price.  This can translate to a savings of 25% to 57% off what would normally be charged (depending on the procedure and the area in which you live in).

In addition, your plan’s benefits are applied to the discounted amounts, which make your out-of-pocket costs less than if you had gone to an “out-of-network” dentist.

Another great perk is that most network agreements include providing discounts for services not covered by your plan.  So if your plan doesn’t cover orthodontia or teeth whitening, your network dentist may be able to offer those services to you at a discounted price.

If you purchase a plan that offers access to a network, take advantage of it! Make sure your dentist is part of your plan’s network before you make an appointment.

If the dentist you wish to see does not belong to a dental network, your plan can still save money.  After all, the purpose of a dental plan is to provide you with coverage for the most commonly used benefits. See the next section for a better explanation.

Coverage Costs Vs. Dental Care Costs

Even a regular dental visit for an adult with healthy teeth can cost money.  A regular initial visit may include a periodic oral exam, four films of bitewing x-rays, and an adult cleaning.  All three of these are separate services and are charged as such.  Without an insurance plan, the total cost in Los Angeles, California, is around $251.00*.  If you go to the dentist twice a year that would be a total of $427 for those two visits (minus the cost of x-rays for the second visit).

The cost of a dental plan can vary by the amount of coverage a plan offers. However, the plans that offer the best value cover preventive care at 100%, meaning the insured would pay 0% of those costs.  At BEST Life, such a plan with a $1,000 Calendar Year Maximum can cost around $30 a month (for the employee only, residing in Los Angeles).  That is $360.00 a year.

For those two regular visits, the employee would spend $360.00 for dental coverage for the entire year instead of $427.00 for not having coverage. That’s an overall savings of $111.00. The employee can save even more if the employer covers some of the cost for the dental plan.

Here’s a table to better illustrate the above scenario with the additional cost of a crown. Keep in mind that this scenario applies if the employee were to fully pay for the cost of the dental plan.

  Without Insurance Insurance With Network Insurance Without Network
Yearly Cost of Dental Plan

$0.00

$360.00

$360.00

1st Periodic oral exam

$66.00

$30.00

$66.00

100% Paid by Plan

None

-$30.00

-$66.00

Subtotal

$66.00

$0.00

$0.00

Bitewing x-rays (4 films)

$75.00

$39.00

$75.00

100% Paid by Plan

None

-$39.00

-$75.00

Subtotal

$75.00

$0.00

$0.00

1st Adult cleaning

$110.00

$63.00

$110.00

100% Paid by Plan

None

-$63.00

-$110.00

Subtotal

$110.00

$0.00

$0.00

Porcelain Crown

$1,224.00

$782.00

$1,224.00

50% Paid by Plan

None

-$391.00

-$612.00

Subtotal

$1,224.00

$391.00

$612.00

2nd Periodic oral exam

$66.00

$30.00

$66.00

100% Paid by Plan

None

-$30.00

-$66.00

Subtotal

$66.00

$0.00

$0.00

2nd Adult cleaning

$110.00

$63.00

$110.00

100% Paid by Plan

None

-$63.00

-$110.00

Subtotal

$110.00

$0.00

$0.00

 $50 Yearly Deductible

None

 $50

$50

Total Yearly Cost

$1,651.00

$801.00

$1,022.00

*Costs are based on DenteMax’s provider database. Actual costs may vary.

Promoting Preventive Care is Good for the Business

The National American Dental Plan (“NADP”) conducted a Consumer Survey in 2007.  They found that people who do not have dental coverage are 2.5 times more likely not to visit their dentist.

For business owners, this means that offering a dental plan for their employees can encourage people to get dental care and can help keep work productivity up.

The alternative can be costly to the employee and to the company.  Not offering dental insurance can result in lots of hours lost to dental visits. The U.S. Surgeon General’s 2000 report on oral health estimated that working Americans lose about 164 million hours annually due to dental disease or dental visits.  That includes the time parents took to attend to the needs of children with dental-related illnesses.

Promoting preventive care saves money and hours.  The American Dental Hygienists’ Association estimates that every $1 spent on prevention in oral health care saves $8 to $50 on restorative and emergency procedures.  Restorative and emergency procedures can be very costly and may even require more than one visit to the dentist to be completed.

Lastly, employees can avoid the image of having “bad teeth”. Being comfortable and confident at work can directly impact job performance. Bad teeth may result in problems with speaking, chewing, and swallowing. All or any of these can jeopardize confidence and bring discomfort to the job.  Additionally, if you are uncomfortable with the appearance of your teeth, the U.S. Surgeon General’s 2000 Oral Health Report found that you are less likely to smile … and that could also hamper the self-assurance you need to perform well at work.

Reference:
Best Life
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