What the Heck is Dental Insurance?

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You could be asking that same question when you think about the expenses you may face in dental treatment.

Here is a definition of ‘insurance’ I found on Wikipedia:

An arrangement or agreement that protects someone from incurring future losses, as from damage, theft, illness, or death, especially a contract that transfers the risk of a specified loss to another party in exchange for the payment of a premium.

Think of your car or your home insurance: the company will not pay for repairs, maintenance, etc., but if your car or house is a total loss, then your insurance company will pay to rebuild or replace it.

Dental insurance, on the other hand, pays for repairs (fillings) and maintenance (cleanings), but they will not pay to rebuild your whole mouth.

This could make you very upset.

So now, think about this: similarly, say your car was totaled, and your insurance company told you that they would only pay out the maximum amount in your plan ($1,000).

Doesn’t sound so good, does it. This could make you very, very upset.

So a good question might be: is dental insurance really ‘insurance?’

Dental insurance was born in the early 70’s. Again, the maximum amount any plan would pay out in benefits for treatment per year was $1,000. In the 70’s, you could receive five crowns per year with that benefit.

Today, 45 years later, the maximum amount a plan pays out is…guess what? STILL $1,000. But the problem is, today, this doesn’t cover the cost of even ONE crown!

Adjusting for today’s inflation, the maximum yearly payable amount should be $5,000 -$7,000. But it’s not. And while your maximum benefit per year has not increased, your premiums certainly have.

So dental insurance is not really an insurance that pays on a ‘loss;’ it’s really a ‘benefit’ that is meant to help defray some of the cost of dental treatment. It was never designed to cover all of your dental treatment—again, only help with some of the cost.

As dental insurance companies try to become more profitable, your benefits tend to have more limitations. Many of my patients have ‘dental insurance,’ and I do work with most insurance companies. I am committed to maximizing your benefits, and so I welcome working with your dental insurance company to help defray some of the costs of your dental treatment.

If you have questions or would like to discuss the complicated issue of insurance, be sure to contact me or give me a call! I would be happy to talk to you about it.

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