Secondary insurance, or “supplemental insurance,” can greatly reduce your medical costs, but in most cases, secondary dental insurance does not exist. (The one exception being indemnity policies available at the high cost of $300+ per month.)
Dental discount plans are the most cost-effective way to receive discounts in addition to any coverage you already have.
How Do I Use Secondary Dental Insurance?
To use secondary dental insurance, understand these steps:
- Figure out which plan is primary.
- The primary plan pays claims first. The secondary plan pays claims second, taking into consideration what the first plan paid.
- Typically, you cannot use secondary dental insurance at the same time as the first, with the exception of a discount dental plan.
For example, if you go to the dentist on January 2nd, you can only use one plan at that time. You can use the second plan at your next visit.
How Can a Secondary Discount Dental Plan Be Helpful?
While getting both insurance plans to work in tandem can be difficult, there is another way to have dual coverage. That is through the use of a discount dental plan.
This is NOT dental insurance. But it is an effective and affordable way to cut down on your dental costs, and it is something that can be used with an existing dental insurance plan.
Below are a few examples of where a secondary discount dental plan could be helpful.
- You are on Medicare or Medicaid. These government programs cover primarily extractions. Neither program covers restorative procedures, such as fillings, crowns, dentures, etc.
- You have a "traditional" dental insurance policy, with waiting periods, deductibles (dollar amounts you must pay before coverage begins) and maximums (coverage limits, on average just $1,200 per year), which does not cover pre-existing conditions. These limitations mean that many of your procedures will not be covered when you need them. If you have a large family, or even if you need multiple fillings and the occasional root canal, you can quickly hit your maximum and have to pay the rest out-of-pocket. The premiums are also very expensive - traditional insurance is designed to get more money from you in premiums than it will pay out in claims.
- Your current discount plan does not include the procedure you need. (Bear in mind that the Careington 500 Series plans from 1Dental.com help you save on the vast majority of dentistry procedures, even certain cosmetic procedures including implants and veneers.)
How Do Discount Dental Plans Work?
- These plans reduce prices of procedures by 20-60% or more at participating dentists.
- Your dentist will charge you from a pre-negotiated list of discounts at the time of your visit instead of filing a claim.
- Their in-network-only systems allow companies to offer them for as little as $99/year.
- These plans do not have the limitations typical of insurance - which means they are easy to use, especially in conjunction with another plan.
While dental offices typically accept only one plan per visit, you can strategically use different plans on different visits. By gaining a discount dental plan in addition to the coverage you already have, you may gain more freedom to save on more procedures!
For example, you can use an additional discount plan...
- During a waiting period.
- To save on a procedure your insurance won't cover.
- To discount the subsequent visits after you hit your insurance maximum.
- To choose on a visit-by-visit basis whether your insurance or your discount plan offers better savings.
How to Use a Discount Dental Plan as Supplemental Dental Insurance?
To use a discount dental plan along with your dental insurance...
- Determine the procedures you need and type of dentist you need to see.
- Decide which plan offers the lowest price per procedure.
- Schedule dentist appointment based on which plan will save you the most money.
- Tell the dental office which plan you want to use for that visit.
Again, while a discount dental plan is NOT dental insurance, it works similarily in the case that it saves you money on your dental work. As an alternative to secondary dental insurance, using a dental discount plan to supplement your primary coverage is typically cheap and easy.
Finding the right discount program may require a bit more research before your appointment but can be well worth your time and energy.