Secondary Dental Insurance
By Susan Braden
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.)
If you are looking for another way to save on dentist bills, you should know that dental discount plans are the most cost-effective way to receive discounts in addition to any coverage you already have.
The 3 most common scenarios in which an additional discount plan helps patients save:
- 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 dental discount 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 a filing a claim.
- Their in-network-only systems allow companies to offer them for as little as $75.06/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 dentist offices typically accept only one plan per visit, you can, however, 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.
To successfully use a discount plan in addition to the coverage you already have:
- Determine the procedures that you need and what type of dentist you need (general dentist, orthodontist, etc.)
- Check with your original coverage and with your discount program to determine which offers the lowest price for each procedure.
- Schedule your appointments based on which plan will save you the most money.
- At the time of your visit, tell the dentist office which plan you would like to use for that visit.
Instead of 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.