Dental plans are viable alternatives to traditional dental insurance. Plans of this type work well for people who need some sort of price breaks on various dental procedures but cannot afford to include a dental rider in their health insurance packages or to buy separate dental insurance. When it comes to choosing the best dental plan for your situation, it helps to make sure the plan is accepted locally, has the best possible discounts for the services you utilize regularly and comes at a cost that fits easily into your budget.
What Do You Want in a Dental Plan?
Before you spend any time locating and assessing the benefits of different dental plans, it helps to decide what you really want to get for your money. For example, you may need a plan that offers significant discounts for routine office visits, cleanings and possibly fillings from time to time. Perhaps you see the need for extractions, dental implants or the purchase of dentures in the near future. Make a list of the types of dental procedures that you are likely to need in the next few years and make sure any plan you consider offers deep discounts that will keep the expense within reason.
Dental Plans and Your Dentist
A good place to begin your search for a viable dental plan is to check with the dentist office you currently use. The office manager can usually provide you with information about any dental plans that the practice currently accepts. Make it clear you are asking about discount dental plans and not dental insurance. Doing so will provide you with a short list of plans that can be investigated in more detail.
After talking with the office manager, spend some time checking into those accepted plans. Check online for information about the scope of discounts offered on different procedures. You also want to determine the cost associated with each of those plans. Many plan providers will charge an annual fee, although you will find a few that charge some sort of monthly payment. Assuming the range of discounts is in line with your needs and the annual expense is manageable, signing up immediately may be an option.
What If I Don’t Have a Regular Dentist?
For consumers who don’t have strong ties with a particular dentist, the focus shifts to identifying plans that are accepted by one or more dental professionals in the area. This is actually easier than you may think. By using the right search criteria and a reliable search engine, you can access online resources that provide a great deal of information about dental plans accepted in your area.
Structure your online search to include the name of your city and what you hope to find. For example, the search phrase could be something as simple as “discount dental plan” along with your postal code and your city or town. A reliable search engine will provide results that make it possible to quickly identify several plans that are accepted by at least part of the dental professionals in your area.
From there, you can utilize the tools provided at each website to narrow the scope of your search. For example, many of the sites will allow you to enter your home address and specific a distance from your home. Using the results, contact those dentists and determine which ones are accepting new patients. You can also use that same phone call to make sure they are still accepting the dental plan you are investigating.
Making Your Final Choice
The goal is to evaluate the dental plans that are accepted in your area, making sure the cost and the scope of discounts is acceptable. At the same time, make sure that the plan you choose is accepted by at least a few dentists in the area. This will make it easier to switch to a different dentist should the need arise.
Keep in mind that since a dental plan is based on offering discounts off the standard rates charged by local dentists, there will always be some out of pocket expense. Be prepared to pay the difference when you leave the dentist’s office. If you can’t pay the difference at the time the services are rendered, make some sort of payment arrangements with the provider before the work is done.