Dental services are expensive and are typically not covered under traditional health insurance plans, and financial burdens are one of the main reasons people postpone seeing their dentist or do not go at all. Jenn Stoll, chief commercial officer for DentalPlans.com and the chairperson of Consumer Health Alliance, shares why enrolling in a dental savings plan offers benefits that go beyond regular dental checkups.
HealthLinks: What is a dental savings plan?
Stoll: “Dental savings plans are an affordable alternative to traditional dental insurance. Plan members get savings of 10% to 60% on most dental procedures, such as crowns, root canals, bridges, dentures checkups and more. And the savings go way beyond dental. Many plans come with discounts on vision and hearing care, chiropractic services and prescriptions, as well as free unlimited telehealth – a service that is increasing in popularity amid the current pandemic. So you can really take care of your overall health.”
HealthLinks: How much does a dental savings plan cost?
Stoll: “That depends on which plan you choose and where you purchase it. Across the dental savings plan industry, plans tend to average at about $120 annually for an individual and $150 annually for a family.”
HealthLinks: Does it work like insurance?
Stoll: “These plans are simpler and more flexible than insurance. They are an alternative way to save on dental bills. You simply join a plan and then pay pre-established discounted rates directly to a participating dentist after receiving treatment. Unlike insurance, there are no waiting periods or annual maximums. These plans are especially great for seniors, since there is no limit on how much you can save, and more expensive dental treatments are often needed as people get older. Plus, plan members can also save on procedures they previously postponed.”
HealthLinks: Do all dentists accept it?
Stoll: “Just like insurance, dentists choose which plans they accept. DentalPlans.com is an example of a large marketplace that has more than 140,000 dentists nationwide that accept one or more dental savings plans.”
HealthLinks: Can it be used for services provided by a specialist?
Stoll: “Specialists also participate in dental savings plans, so plan members have access to discounts on treatments from endodontists, orthodontists, pedodontists, periodontists, prosthodontists and oral surgeons. And with no limit on how much you can save per year, a dental savings plan can help people get the treatment they need in a timely manner, rather than spreading it out over several years due to cost or insurance limitations.”
HealthLinks: Can you save on cosmetic dentistry?
Stoll: “Many plans offer discounts on cosmetic procedures, such as teeth whitening, overlays and even dental implants to replace missing teeth or stabilize dentures.”
HealthLinks: How do the payments work?
Stoll: “There are no monthly payments to worry about. You pay once a year for a membership and save all year long, no matter how often you go to the dentist. Patients pay their dentist directly at the time of service and receive unlimited access to savings, with no cap.”
HealthLinks: Is this a good option for people on a fixed income?
Stoll: “Dental savings plans are an excellent choice for people on a fixed income. The savings on dental care are significant, and the discounts on other health care services that many plans offer are also a huge help when you are on a tight budget.”
HealthLinks: How do I choose the best plan for my needs and budget?
Stoll: “Online marketplaces offer multiple plans in one place, with tools that help people easily compare plans from well-known brands like Cigna, Aetna and Careington as well as lesser-known brands that offer big savings on particular treatments.”