In this the information age, I’m continually amazed by some things that make absolutely no sense at all and yet are considered the norm. Granted, I’ve got two small kids and there’s very little that makes sense where they are concerned, so I’ll be the first to admit that there are things that you leave alone because although the logic makes no sense, it works. But there are other things that I just can’t overlook. Dental Insurance is one of them.
Let’s look at a hypothetical situation and you tell me if it makes any sense. You are paying $100/month for dental insurance. Your total annual cost is $1,200 for the policy. Your plan includes a $50 deductible. The maximum that your dental plan will pay out annually is $1,500. Okay, now without my having to go into any sort of detail as to why I am amazed at the number of people who are paying for dental insurance, please do the math. You just paid $1,250 for $250 of benefits!
Did you know that there is such a thing as a Discounted Fee-For-Service Dental Plan? These plans are very affordable and for the price, it’s absolutely amazing what is included! Because they are not insurance, there are no limits on visits or services, all ongoing dental problems are accepted, there are no age limits on any dental procedure, no forms to fill out, no waiting periods, orthodontics are included, cosmetic dentistry is included, all specialists are included, and you can change dentists whenever you want without notifying anyone!
The plan works this way. For a low monthly fee, members of discount plans gain access to wholesale rates similar to what large insurance companies pay. Just imagine that grocery store savings card you carry with you. As long as you use that card, you get all the specials offered at the grocery store. Without it, you pay full price. Same idea here except that when care is received at a participating provider, the member pays the discounted pre-negotiated fee.
What kind of savings do members receive? This is the best part! I’ll use Pennsylvania as an example because that’s where I live. In Pennsylvania, a set of braces for a child under the age of 19 would cost $2,100! That’s roughly 50% off the normal cost. What is so amazing about that? Well, orthodontics are generally either not covered by insurance or the cost exceeds the annual limit. A complete set of dentures in Pennsylvania would run $1,200! Again, this is something that is typically not covered by insurance. Consumers will save up to 80% on EVERY procedure a dentists or specialist is licensed to perform. Another benefit is that the fee schedule has been pre-negotiated and is available for members to review so they can see ahead of time what their costs will be. No Surprises!
As if it couldn’t get any better, the fee-for-service dental plan also includes FREE Vision, Prescription, and Chiropractic Benefits, allowing consumers to save up to 60% on all their vision care needs, up to 50% on Prescriptions, and up to 50% on Chiropractic. The thing that gets me excited about this is the fact that even with vision insurance; we still have a lot of expenses related to our eyes. With our vision insurance, we only get one eye exam every other year, and our insurance only contributes $100 towards the cost of glasses or contacts. The discount plan is a blessing here because we can get our eyes checked annually. My husband wears contacts and the annual eye exam is a requirement if he wants to refill his prescription. Not to mention the fact that he can now save money on the purchase of those contacts. And although my vision prescription isn’t terrible, two years is just too long for me when it comes to getting new lenses. With the discount plan, I don’t have to pay full price for repairs when my 1 year old gets a hold of my glasses!
Do yourself a favor and check into your dental plan. Make sure you aren’t being robbed by the tooth fairy, remember, she’s supposed to be paying you!
If you’d like to obtain more information on fee-for-service plans, visit www.consumerhealthalliance.org or www.APlanBenefits.com. You can also contact Stacey Hill at 800-819-4943.