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Dean George is the Marketing Specialist and Content Creator for Dental Insurance
Store and its social media channels. He is a regular contributor to Agent Straight Talk, the
only consumer blog explaining the ins, outs and in-betweens of dental insurance and
discount dental plans. READ MORE

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How effective dates can affect dental visits

Jan 25, 2012

New members of dental plans sometimes have little affection for plan effective dates. Unfortunately, many folks may not realize when choosing a plan the importance of an effective date until it’s too late – or too painful.

What is an effective date? The date a dental plan begins and the member can begin using the plan benefits. Effective dates can range from 12 days to literally weeks!

The effective date isn’t the same as a waiting period. A waiting period is a specified time before certain dental procedures can be utilized – not when the plan begins. For instance, I may have a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan or an indemnity plan that began January 1, but I wouldn’t be covered for a major procedure like a root canal or a crown for 12 months.

Dental plan effective dates vary by provider and the type of plan it is. For example dental insurance effective dates are generally the first of the following month if the completed application and initial payment are received by a specified date such as the 20th

Let's say that today is July 21st and I  awake with a fierce toothache. After wisely logging onto and entering my ZIP code into the search engine, within seconds I’ve got more plans to choose from than Julia Roberts has teeth!

I quickly decide on a plan that looks like a good fit and enroll. All's well until I realize a week later that the effective date for the plan I enrolled in isn't until September 1st because my application and payment weren’t received until July 21, or one day after the dental plan’s cutoff date. Wouldn't you know September 1st this year falls on a Saturday. Worse, Labor Day is Monday September 3rd and since my dentist’s office will be closed, the earliest I can have Dr. Ira Feelgood care for my throbbing tooth is Sept 4th – 45 days away!

My toothache now partners with a growing headache when I realize that if I had enrolled just one day earlier – one 24-hour, 1,440-minute, 86,400-seconds period of time – my plan’s effective date would have been August 1, or just 12 days away!

If I had enrolled into a discount dental plan, I may have gotten that toothache addressed in just two business days. So even if I purchased a plan on a Friday, I could have had that pesky tooth fixed as early as Tuesday. Most discount dental plans cost between $8 and $15 a month, but it's important to remember that such plans typically charge a $45 non-refundable enrollment fee. Is getting rid of my toothache worth it?

Truth is, everyone’s needs are different. That’s why we offer so many dental insurance and discount dental plans throughout the country. If you’d like to see what plans we have available in your area, click on the quote button above.

Thanks for reading Agent Straight Talk. Email questions or comments about dental issues

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Copyright 2012, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC ©

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