Being able to afford the dental care you need is important. Putting care off even longer due to the cost can mean that conditions worsen and become even costlier to correct. What needs a filling one day can be a tooth that needs a root canal and crown later this year. Here are some tips to keeping the cost of your dental care down, and being able to afford it when something happens.
Always take advantage of your preventive care coverage from your insurance provider. Most preventive visits are covered around 100% and include dental cleanings and checkups, x-rays, exams, and fluoride. These visits can keep your teeth healthy and diagnose needs at their earliest stages.
Ask your dentist about financing options. Many dental offices either have an in-house financing program or work with a 3rd party financing company that offers 0% or low-interest loans for 12-18 months for patients to complete medical or dental care.
Check your insurance plan to see if you have any waiting periods on treatment. A new plan may require you wait 6 or 12 months before certain types of procedures. If you’re thinking about switching insurance plans, look at the fine print first, and see if it’s going to prevent you from being able to afford any particular procedures.
If you don’t like your coverage, take it up with your provider or your HR department at your employer’s office. Most of the time, the coverage benefits are based on something agreed upon between your employer and the provider. Your dentist can’t influence how much your plan will reimburse for your care.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Michael Mansouri, Marietta Family Dental Care, P.C.
Sometimes preventive oral care isn’t enough, and tooth decay, aesthetic concerns, or dental pain leave us needing to have other types of procedures completed. If the treatment needed comes as a surprise, or turns out to be more extensive than you were prepared for, your dental insurance can be very beneficial for covering a portion of the fees. Unfortunately, most insurance plans do not cover 100% of restorative procedures, or patients may not have insurance at all.
Repairing your teeth while needs are as small as possible keeps care more affordable and the treatment less invasive. Fillings are smaller and more affordable than a root canal 6 months from now. If larger treatment is needed, or several smaller procedures are beginning to add up, it’s important for patients to understand what type of financing is available in order to help them restore their smiles sooner rather than later. Your financial coordinator can let you know an estimate of fees that your insurance plan should provide, preventing unexpected surprises after the claim is submitted for reimbursement.
Most dental offices are able to take credit cards, provide a payment plan, or have access to 3rd party financing companies such as CareCredit or Springstone. Typically, these payment plans are 0% interest or low interest loans when paid off within 12-18 months. Patients can take advantage of this financing to keep treatment smaller, more affordable, and protect the health of their teeth.
If you’ve been told that you needed expensive, extensive dental care, it never hurts to have a second opinion given by another dentist. See your trusted dental provider about necessary treatment today, and ask about the financing services that they accept.
Posted on the behalf of Dr. Sarah Roberts, Crabapple Dental
Judging from recent headlines ObamaCare, President Obama’s new plan to have health care coverage for all Americans, has not been going as smoothly as expected, resulting in a great deal of confusion and administrative delays. One area that hasn’t received as much attention, though generating just as much confusion, is oral health coverage.
Under the ACA, all Americans must sign up for health insurance coverage if they are not currently covered under an employer’s policy – or face possible penalties. How you sign up depends where you live. Some states have chosen to set up their own Marketplace, while others are deferring to the federal government. The Marketplace is an online venue where insurance companies offer their various plans for affordable insurance. For those in states that have opted to go the federal route, the place to sign up is the website HealthCare.gov.
The purpose of the ACA, according to the Obama Administration, is to improve coverage and lower costs by making health insurance mandatory for everyone. It also does things like force insurance companies to accept pre-existing conditions and require that they cover preventative care. That does include preventative dental care, but only pediatric dental care.
According to reports, only a handful of states with their own Marketplaces have opted to cover pediatric preventative dental care in all their plans. Many have left it up to parents to come up with their own dental insurance plans.
If you are one of the millions of Americans who falls under the Affordable Care Act, you should definitely investigate the various plans available in your state and inquire about dental coverage.
Posted on behalf of Randy Muccioli
Affording the dental care you need is important, and the main reason that people invest in dental insurance coverage. Getting the maximum benefits out of your insurance plan can help keep your smile healthy, reduce your out of pocket expenses related to treatment, and help you get the care you need. Here are some tips on getting the most out of what your plan covers:
#1: See your dentist for routine preventive care on a regular basis.
Most insurance plans cover preventive care at 100% (or close to it.) Preventive care appointments include dental cleanings and checkups, dental exams, fluoride, oral cancer screenings, x-rays and other procedures like sealants. These measures performed twice each year can keep your mouth healthy and identify small treatment needs before they become problematic later on.
#2: Get your treatment completed as soon as possible.
When your dentist diagnoses a small cavity or other need, it’s in the best interest of your tooth to have it completed while the damage is still small. Putting treatment off until it hurts or is visible to you will almost always mean more invasive and costly treatment. A filling can quickly turn into a root canal, and your treatment coverage will drop from restorative care coverage to major treatment coverage. Major treatments are usually covered at a smaller percentage, leaving you responsible for the rest of the fees.
#3: If you don’t like your coverage, talk to HR at your employer.
Your dentist doesn’t get any say so with your insurance company about how much they cover, or convincing them to cover treatment outside of your benefits. The plan you carry is determined based on what you purchase, or is arranged by your employer. Taking up your coverage with the HR department at your employers office is the best way to change or improve the plan you already have.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Mark Rowe, Rowe Family Dental Care
Unless you are covered under a group health insurance plan, dental insurance can be expensive. Many people who have private insurance ask themselves whether or not they should pay an extra monthly premium for dental insurance. As with health or car insurance, it’s all a game of risk. Are you willing to risk not having dental insurance because you have always had healthy teeth, or are you not willing to risk it because of the possibility that could happen?
It is true that dental insurance premiums can be more expensive than simply paying out of pocket for routine checkups and cleanings. Most cleanings run an average of $80. That bi-yearly $80 may seem easy to pay until you come up on needing more than just your routine cleaning. Cavity fillings cost about $100 per filling which can quickly add up if you need multiple fillings. Big-ticket items such as root canals and crowns can cost upwards of $1200 a piece.
But is dental insurance right for you? Most people with dental insurance have what’s known as “100-80-50” coverage. Meaning, those insurance policies will pay 100 percent of the cost of routine checkups and cleanings, 80 percent for fillings, and 50 percent for major procedures. Here is where it simply becomes a complicated math problem. Only you and your dentist know the state of your oral health. Talk with your Manhattan dentist to determine your risk factors for major procedures. You may be surprised to find that thoroughly caring for your teeth at home and through routine dentist visits is enough to counter the need for dental insurance. If you and your dentist decide that dental insurance is beneficial, ask your dental office to assist you in finding the coverage that is right for you and your budget.
Unfortunately, this question cannot be answered accurately with a simple yes or no answer. Dental implants are screw-type devices made of titanium that are surgically placed into the bone of the jaw. The bone accepts the implant by fusing the implant surface with the surrounding bone. Once this happens, the implant can then serve as a “root” for several restorative dental prostheses such as crowns or dentures. As is the case with any surgical procedure, there are extenuating circumstances that should be addressed.
For this dental implant procedure to work, there must be enough bone in the jaw that is strong enough to hold and support the implant. The teeth and gum tissue surrounding the implantation site needs to be healthy. The proposed functional aspect of the restoration needs to be assessed as to the biomechanical tolerance of the implant in design of the prosthesis, or failure of the implant and possible bone loss is a risk. Dental implant success is rated not only according to the skill of the operator and the quality of the bone, but also to the patient’s oral hygiene and compliance with post-operative care.
Some implants boasts success rate of 90% or more, but the general consensus is a success rate of 75%. Failure of a dental implant is most often related to the failure of bone integration and rejection by the body, which occurs in about 5% of cases. Inflammation can also develop around the implant, which results in bone loss and subsequent failure. Like natural teeth and dentures, implants suffer a buildup of wear and tear over the years that, ultimately, may require replacement. Thus, the answer to the question is, dental implants are a good long-term solution to replacing lost teeth.
When it comes to paying for dental care, financing options run the gamut from low-cost dental plans provided through state programs, to dental benefits provided by an employer, to private insurance which tends to be more expensive, to paying out-of-pocket. Yet another dental care financing option is CareCredit.
CareCredit is not insurance, rather, it is a health care credit card program. The program provides individuals with a revolving line of credit that can be used to pay out-of-pocket health care costs that are not covered by their insurance plan, i.e., co-pays and deductibles. Unlike insurance plans which require the policy holder to pay an up-front annual fee (deductible), with CareCredit there are no up-front costs.
CareCredit can be used to supplement payment for a range of dental procedures including fillings, tooth extractions, braces, cosmetic dentistry procedures, and more. CareCredit offers 6,12,18, and 24 month promotional plans with no interest charged as long as all the minimum monthly payments are met and the full amount is repaid by the end of the promotional period. There are also CareCredit plans with longer repayment periods (up to 60 months) and higher credit limits but these plans come with a fixed interest rate. Not all dentists accept CareCredit and those who do may not offer all of the CareCredit plans, so you should call your provider to discuss your options.
Before you apply for CareCredit, do your research and make sure you have a thorough understanding of the program’s terms and conditions. Some people have had unsatisfactory experiences with CareCredit, citing issues such as poor customer service and high interest rates. As with any dental financing option, there are pros and cons to CareCredit and understanding what you’re signing up for is the best way to avoid unexpected costs and disillusionment.
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