By Natasha Gayle
If an average family were to pay all of their dental bills out of pocket, the impact on their financial situation could be devastating. However, there are options a family can explore that may be more helpful than traditional family dental insurance. They may be surprised to find that there are a variety of ways they could greatly reduce their dental bills.
While this is not a comprehensive explanation, you should know exactly what family dental insurance options are available. If The Smiths could afford the monthly rates and deductibles, this option could be good and certainly far better than trying to pay dental costs outright. Typically, these plans are either a HMO or a PPO. The HMO or “DHMO” stands for dental health maintenance organization. With the DHMO Mr. Smith and his family would get good care inside of a network of providers working with the plan. Many times the family would be assigned to a particular doctor they must use. This doctor may refer other specialists for the family as needed. Now they’ll pay a lot in premiums, but receive good coverage up to a certain limit as defined by the details in their particular plan. Also, this plan could cover a large chunk if not all of their basic dental needs. The less common procedures such as root canals, tooth extractions, braces, and crowns, wouldn’t necessarily be covered much, if at all.
A PPO is another option available for family dental insurance. PPO stands for preferred provider organization. While there are some similarities, the monthly premiums with a PPO will typically be higher than the HMO, and also there are fewer restrictions in general with this type of plan. The Smiths would have much more control over their dental health care with this option. Also, they’d have a greater choice of dentists to choose from as long as the dental provider was in their network. Sometimes the PPO will offer two different types of deductibles. One deductible is for doctors inside the network. Another deductible, which is usually much higher, is for doctors outside of the network. This feature could help The Smiths use the dental provider they want to, however it would be more costly possibly defeating the point. This is typically how family dental works, but what other options are available?
A third option, similar to family dental insurance is called a DDP. DDP stands for dental discount plan, commonly referred to as simply, a “Dental Plan”. Now The Smiths would find an entirely different sort of thing when researching about this type of plan. Unlike typical insurance, the dental plan has no maximums, no deductibles, no claims (or paperwork for the providers), no limits of service, and also no waiting periods. These benefits are available to a family immediately unlike dental insurance which will require a sometimes long waiting period. This benefit is a part of most discount plans including immediate activation and quick access to the benefits of the plan. The typical plan has a 6 month to a year wait in order to receive service. The greatest thing about this plan is the bottom line: Low monthly payments and huge savings on general dental work including a selection of the less common procedures as well.
So there it is! There are indeed quality savings options for The Smiths and for your family as well, maybe even more than family dental insurance. Do some investigation and find out if it might be helpful for you!