Many patients do not hold any dental insurance, whether it be down to the associated costs or long waiting lists. Discount dental plans offer an affordable and easily accessible alternative to “traditional” insurance, and we will look at these in more detail in this article.
If you’re in the UK, have a look at this page for information on an available alternative.
Some Quick Pointers
In essence, if you do not have traditional insurance, and wish to cut down the cost of dental treatments, then you may wish to consider joining a discount plan. They are a fairly straightforward alternative to saving on the costs of dental treatment.
Members can choose from 100,000+ participating provider listings in combined networks. These dentists accept reduced fees as payment for the work they carry out.
A wide range of procedures are typically covered, whether it be straightforward X-rays, fillings and cleanings or more involved work such as crowns or root canals. You can choose different plans to suit your own needs.
There are no annual limits (in terms of how treatment is covered) with discount dental plans. Likewise, there are no health restrictions, nor are there lots of complicated application forms to fill out.
Dentalplans.com is the largest and most experienced provider. This scheme includes lots of specialists and a wide range of treatment items are covered. There are more than 30 discount dental plans to choose from.
It can be a little confusing when weighing up such discount dental plans as an alternative to dental insurance. Here are some of the benefits and a comparison to insurance:
Some benefits of dental plans
While not for everyone, here are some reasons why you might want to consider these as a way of reducing dental expenses:
- You can save 10% to 60% on most dental procedures
- One yearly fee to join
- No annual limits on what is covered. If you have a discount dental plan, you are covered for the whole year without restrictions. In other words, you will save on every trip to your dentist’s office
- Quick and relatively easy to join, with most plans being set up and ready to use within 3 days
- Schemes are available for individuals, families or groups such as employees
- There are no health restrictions, unlike many insurance plans. Some medical problems will put you at increased risk of oral diseases, so it is a great plus point that there are no restrictions based on such problems.
- More than 100,000 dentists participate in the scheme
- Easy to make use of the scheme, without reams of paper work when claiming for work done. You simply present your membership card to the dental office, and then pay the reduced fees for the work you receive
- Discounts on dental specialties (such as orthodontics and/or cosmetic work) available on select plans.
- The site includes a search tool for you to find local dentists
- Customer representatives are available to assist from the site. You may need help in deciding what plan suits your needs best.
Compared to conventional insurance
So, there are many advantages to discount plans over traditional insurance, including:
- There are is no waiting for major work to be approved
- You don’t have the annual limits and maximums on various dental procedures
- Pre-existing conditions, like gum disease, are covered under a discount plan, but not under insurance (typically)
- Most dental specialties are covered. Some plans also help reduce the costs of cosmetic dentistry, which isn’t usually eh case with insurance.
Another point to note that even if you have dental insurance, you may further benefit from using a discount dental plan on top of this. You should check this out with your own dentist however, to make sure it would be right for you.
But where is insurance preferable to plans?
- Regular “preventive” work such as check-ups and scales are paid for under most insurance schemes. Members get these twice yearly with the majority of insurers. Discount dental plans offer these at discounted rates but do not offer them free of charge.
- Children and orthodontic work are discounted on select plans. (Although with a dental plan you can pay slightly more for a family to be covered, and some options DO reduce the cost of orthodontics).
- With a discount dental plan, you will typically need to stick to a dentist who operates within the scheme. Some types of insurance allow you to choose whichever dentist you wish.
The various deals, their fees and availability (regional or nationwide in the US) can be easily compared on their site. You will find affordable prices for both individuals and family, and can review them collectively to see what may suit you best.
Any care that you take out is only useful if you use it! That is, only those who attend their dentist regularly get the benefits from it.
For more information on discount dental plans, the FAQ section on their site is a great place to start.
Click Here to View a List of all Discount Dental Plans Available
“Savings plans are NOT insurance and the savings will vary by provider, plan and zip code. These plans are not considered to be qualified health plans under the Affordable Care Act. Please consult with the respective plan detail page for additional plan terms. The discounts are available through participating healthcare providers only. To check that your provider participates, visit our website or call us. Since there is no paperwork or reimbursement, you must pay for the service at the time it’s provided. You will receive the discount off the provider’s usual and customary fees when you pay. We encourage you to check with your participating provider prior to beginning treatment. Note – not all plans and offers available in all markets. Special promotions including, but not limited to, additional months free are not available to California residents.”