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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 Discount Dental Plans Work – Honest!

May 28, 2014

By Dean George

The small, cramped room looked exactly how you would imagine an interrogation room to look, only tackier: a government-issued laminate table flanked by a pair of mismatched chairs, pale green walls that had seen more paint than a Sherwin-Williams showroom and a smell that could best be described as Early American Man Cave.

It was safe to say that the folks at Yankee Candle® would never market the unique fragrance of desperation, cigarette smoke and old coffee smells that permeated the room.

Over time I’d seen my share of interrogation rooms manned by dental plan gendarmes, but on a scale of 1-10 I rated this one a “5” based on its uninspired feng shui and inhospitable atmosphere. The main reason for the latter was the two gentlemen with which I had been sharing a tête-à-tête the past hour, although I sensed their patience had worn thin because of their futile attempts to obtain my confession.

The topic of our little confab was the discount dental plan I was driving. They were under the mistaken impression that it didn't conform to the proper dental insurance requirements as they understood them, but I had been trying to explain to them that it wasn't a dental insurance vehicle at all.

As a discount dental plan it was designed to get people from Point A to Point B at reduced rates, or even to serve as a secondary vehicle to their existing dental plan transportation. But it was never intended to be viewed as a dental insurance plan at all. Or so I had patiently tried to explain.

 “So did you say this plan requires copays or coinsurance?” the taller of the two asked for at least the third time.” “Neither,” I said coolly. “Members of these plans pay discounted fees when getting treatment through participating dentists, but there are no copays or coinsurance.”

“So are those ‘discounted fees’ a copay or coinsurance?” the shorter, burlier of the two asked while leaning in toward me.  “No, it’s neither,” I said with a sigh. “It is a fee that has been negotiated in advance with participating dentists for services rendered. It’s like a coupon without the clipping, or using a warehouse club membership card.”

“Yeah, but there have to be waiting periods before the plan member gets treatment,” Mr. Tall countered with a sneer. “You can’t operate these things without one!”

“No, it has no waiting period,” I said calmly. “The only ‘waiting period’ is if you choose to pay for the plan using automatic bank draft rather than a credit card. In those cases there may be a ‘waiting period’ to activate the plan, but there is no waiting period to get dental treatment.”

“C’mon buddy, that’s ridiculous,” Mr. Burly said with a pained expression. “You’re telling us you can drive this thing to the dentist immediately upon purchase and use it to save money on your dental treatment the next day?” Staring unblinking at him, I nodded.

“Let’s say you’re right, smart guy,” said Mr. Tall. “Let’s say you can use it right away, with no waiting period. But I’ll bet it shuts down after you get a couple of things done at the dentist, like maybe a teeth cleaning and a filling. Am I right?”

“No, you’re wrong – again. The discount dental plans offered through Dental Insurance Store have no annual maximums, and no limits on how often they can be used.”  “Why, that’s like including a warranty with unlimited mileage!” he hollered. “You just can’t do that!”

 Feeling their bloodshot eyes glaring my way, I calmly inspected a fingernail and said, “Gentlemen, you both keep trying to define how a discount dental plan performs in insurance terms. It is not an insurance plan, so using terms like copays and coinsurance, waiting periods and annual plan limits to describe how it works and saves people money just isn't applicable.”

“Get off it! There has to be a waiting period, some kind of deductible or an annual limit that the plan will pay before it runs down for the year,” Mr. Burly half-shouted. “Nope,” I said shaking my head. Just to be ornery, I replied, “One of our plans even covers everyone in the household for the same price.”

Slapping a meaty palm on the table in front of me, Mr. Burly refused to concede the point. “Look, that’s impossible. That’s not how dental insurance plans work!”

“That’s right. That’s how dental insurance works,” I admitted. Caught temporarily off-guard, my two inquisitors blinked in surprise at my comment, but then I added, “But my plan isn’t dental insurance, it’s a dental plan that saves money by offering significantly reduced rates for most dental treatment – including orthodontia and cosmetic procedures.”

Before they could scoff at that, I asked innocently, “And did I mention that with a discount dental plan there is no paperwork because plan members pay the reduced rates directly to the dentist? And that plan discounts range from 25% to 50% off regular rates? Heck, depending upon the procedure that amounts to savings like you might get with…”

“We know - a dental insurance plan,” they said in unison. Standing aside and whispering between themselves, the two broke their huddle a minute later before Mr. Tall walked back to where I sat and stood menacingly over me a moment. When that pose failed to reduce me to a puddle of goo, he shrugged once and told me I was free to go.

“One more question, pal,” he said with a stern look. “What’s that?” I asked. “Where can we get one of these sweet dental rides?” he asked with a sheepish smile.

Grinning, I gave him my card with our website address and told him to click here. Discount dental plans available through Dental Insurance Store are available for as little as $6.67 a month and all have no deductibles, no annual limits on what they will pay, no waiting periods and are accepted by thousands of dentists nationwide.

Thanks for reading Agent Straight-Talk, and be sure to join our merry dental band of followers on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn!  

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Copyright 2014, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC   

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