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5 Steps for Choosing the Right Dental Insurance

Dental insurance covers everything from routine exams to unexpected dental problems.

Rather than worry about what might go wrong or avoid the dentist because you can’t afford it, look into different dental insurance plans to see what fits your family and budget. There are plenty of options to help you make sure no dental issue goes untreated. Let’s look at five steps for choosing the right dental insurance.

1. Which Plan Fits Your Budget?

Make sure to choose a dental plan that fits your monthly budget. The two types of dental insurance plans are DHMO and PPO, and it’s important to understand the difference. DHMOs have less out-of-pocket costs than PPOs and typically only require a co-payment for procedures. However, a DHMO requires you to choose a primary dentist and acquire a referral for any special procedure. A PPO is less strict about choosing a dentist and doesn’t need referrals. You’ll have to weigh costs against convenience.

2. What Treatments are Covered?

Both DHMOs and PPOs cover all normal dental procedures like cleanings every six months, dental fillings, tooth scaling, root canals, and x-rays, but only certain plans may cover other things, like braces or implants. If you foresee something other than a normal dental procedure, be sure to check which plan covers the treatment.

3. What Is the Maximum Annual Limit?

Always be sure to look into or ask about the maximum annual limit. The annual limit refers to the maximum amount that a dental insurance plan will pay towards your dental care per year (aka, how much you can save). Once you have reached the annual maximum, you will responsible for any additional costs in that time period. Some plans may cap the number of procedures you can have each year. Some insurance plans offer higher annual limits for higher monthly premiums, although if someone on your plan has poor dental health, this may make more sense.

4. What Is the Deductible?

You should also consider the cost of the deductible, which can vary depending on which insurance policy you choose. Usually, you have to meet the deductible before the insurance starts covering dental procedures, so you’ll want to choose a plan with a low deductible, if possible. Plans with low deductibles usually come with higher monthly premiums, so this is something else you’ll have to think about before choosing a plan.

5. Will the Plan Cover Family Members?

There are different plans for individuals and families. If you have a family, you should choose a family plan. Family plans will have different deductibles and annual limits. It’s important to find out if families can meet these deductibles and annual limits by individual or in total. Also, if you have children check to see if the plan covers braces, fluoride, or sealants, which are common procedures for kids.

Everyone has different needs when it comes to dental care. Be sure to take dental health, monetary, and convenience issues into account when choosing your plan and provider. It’s a good idea to research dental plans and dentists in the network before choosing a plan. Dental insurance is essential in today’s world. Make sure you’re armed with the knowledge to make the best decision for you and your family.

Image via Flickr by Army Medicine

Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice.

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