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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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Using dental networks can save you money

Apr 18, 2013

Significant Savings with Dental Networks
Photo source: dentistinsanbruno.com

As we continue our April series on ways to save money on dental coverage, let’s look at how dental plans using networks can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars on your annual dental care.

If you are reading this post looking for a BOGO dental plan sale, you may want to put that in the Tooth Fairy’s Suggestion Box.

Regular readers of our blog may recall that there are two types of dental insurance plans that involve networks: Dental Health Maintenance Organizations (DHMO), and Preferred Provider Organization (PPO.) 

In network plans, dentists contract with plan carriers and agree to provide dental procedures at a specified price. The dentist benefits by gaining patients and the carrier benefits by locking in discounted prices from an accredited dentist. I know what you’re thinking. How does this arrangement save me money?

CONSIDER WHICH PLAN FIT YOUR NEEDS Members on network plans pay a fixed price (DHMO members pay a co-pay) or percentage (PPO members pay coinsurance) for all dental procedures. Both DHMO and PPO plans will pay 50-80% towards the cost of eligible dental procedures; many diagnostic and preventive services cost you nothing. Some plans may include an office visit fee.

In the case of a PPO, the savings available to members may not be as large as that of a DHMO, but carriers do allow their members to go out-of-network. Of course members save more money if they use a PPO in-network dentist.

CONSIDER PLANS WITH NO WAITING PERIOD How can using a plan without a waiting period save you money? If you don’t have to pay six months or a year of premiums before using plan benefits, you don’t need a calculator to see your cost savings. Did you know that...the DHMO dental plans available through Dental Insurance Store don’t have waiting periods? So you don’t have to pay 6-12 months of premiums before using those plans.

Also, choosing a plan without a waiting period allows you to quickly utilize major dental procedures like getting a dental crown or a root canal. This may mean less time off work or school and fewer complications than if you have to wait six months for the necessary treatment.

CONSIDER PLANS WITH NO ANNUAL LIMIT Another way DHMO plans save you money is because they have no annual limits or annual maximums. This can be important if you have a year in which your dental visits exceed the usual annual limit caps of $1,000 or $1,500.

Most PPOs have annual limits. The PPO annual limit may not affect you during an average year, but it only takes one bad year for you and your teeth to wish you had a personal printing press or a dentist that accepts Monopoly money.

CONSIDER PLANS WITH NO DEDUCTIBLES Most DHMO dental plans have no deductibles, which can save you $50 on your first visit each year!

Many PPO plans work like auto insurance – they require an annual deductible. For instance, if your car is involved in a fender bender or worse, you have to pay a deductible before your auto insurance pays the claim. Likewise, PPO dental plans usually require a $50 deductible each year before the plan pays. Let’s say you have a dental exam and cleaning and have already met the waiting period requirement. Your plan pays 80% for the exam and cleaning and the bill is $120.

$120 - $50 annual deductible = $70.
The plan will pay 80% of $70 = $56
You pay the $50 deductible plus 20% of the $120 ($24) for a total of $74.

If you return six months later in the same calendar year, since you’ve met your deductible the PPO plan would pay 80% of the $120 total, or $96, and your coinsurance would be just $24. Bottom line: If you can find a plan with no annual deductible, you are $50 ahead in the You-Win-Sweepstakes.

Thanks for reading Agent Straight-Talk, and remember: “Smiling increases your face value. So smile!” Email us at AgentStraightTalk@DentalInsuranceStore.com.

 
Copyright 2013 Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC©

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