By Susan Braden
Insurance companies may classify tooth implants, the surgical placement of permanent, artificial teeth, as cosmetic dentistry. Many types of dental insurance will not cover these “cosmetic” treatments, but occasionally you may find coverage. Here’s how to determine if your current policy covers implant procedures, and a note about an insurance alternative that can help you save.
Thoroughly check your existing coverage to see if it might include implants. If it does not include implant savings, then you may want to search online for a plan that might cover the procedure. Bear in mind, however, that you cannot avoid out-of-pocket expenses entirely when considering oral treatments, especially for what is typically considered cosmetic dental work.
Investigate your existing policy to see if you already hit your annual maximum, which is the most amount of money your policy will pay per year. Otherwise, you might be responsible for the full cost of the treatment out-of-pocket. You may also want to investigate the reimbursement option on your existing plan. Understand how the process works with your particular insurance company, and use it wisely. If you find difficulty sifting through these terms and conditions, you may want to call the company and a few others to clarify your questions and compare coverage options.
Your dentist may also be a helpful resource as well for recommending plans that will cover implants. If you are unable to determine if your current policy covers the procedure, your dentist may know this as well.
Be careful, however. If your current policy says it covers implants, it may have hidden exclusions or exceptions. Still an “exclusion” clause for implants does not necessarily mean that absolutely zero benefits to will apply to the procedure.
Classify your implant procedure as a “restoration” rather than “surgical therapy,” because some insurance companies will only reimburse you for “restoration” procedures. Look at your current plan and examine its alternate benefit clause. Always double-check that you are referring to the procedure you need by its correct ADA code, because the smallest differences between procedures could mean the difference between any coverage for your implants and full payment out of your own pocket.
If you still cannot find a way to receive benefits for your implant surgery, you may want to look into the affordable alternative of discount dental plans. Often for specialty procedures such as implants, you can receive a contracted percentage off of your preferred treatment with these dental plans, without deductibles or maximums. Whichever type of plan you need to help you pay for implants, you can find multiple insurance alternatives online.