Dental discount plans are an increasingly popular way to help pay for a wide variety of dental procedures. However, compared to dental insurance, dental discount plans are still relatively new and unknown. Here’s an in-depth rundown on the five major differences between Aetna dental insurance and Aetna dental discount plans:
1. Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions
Many common dental problems aren’t easy to detect right away. For instance, cavities often develop slowly over time. You might not notice any tooth pain or other signs of decay. Instead, the cavity can only be detected by a dental professional, usually after taking an X-ray.
That’s just one example of a dental condition you might not be aware you have. The problem is dental insurance usually doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. In this case, insurance likely won’t cover a filling for a cavity which started to develop before you purchased the policy. Dental insurance has a (rather annoying) tendency to declare quite a few issues as pre-existing conditions.
Dental discounts plans have no such restrictions. Discounts are available on a wide variety of dental procedures even if they developed before you purchased a plan. A discount plan is often a great way to treat dental problems which have been bothering you for a while.
2. Waiting Periods
When you purchase a dental insurance policy, you can rest easy knowing at least some financial coverage is available to help pay your dental bills. At least, that’s the way it’s supposed to work. But many people are surprised to learn most dental policies have a waiting period before they go into effect.
Typically, preventative care such as checkups have no waiting period. But minor issues such as deep cleanings and fillings have a wait time of six months. More complicated procedure such as root canals, dental implants and oral surgery require a wait of six months to a year. Unfortunately, if you need restorative dental work, major damage can occur if you have to wait that long!
Dental discount plans have virtually no waiting period. After you purchase a plan, your membership will be activated in about two to three days. In many cases, you can even print out a temporary membership card at home. Dental discount plans let you start saving on the procedures you need right away.
3. Annual Limits
Insurance coverage is not unlimited. Each policy will have an annual coverage limit. This is the maximum dollar amount paid out towards your claims each year. While the specifics vary by policy, the average annual limit is a shockingly low $1,000.
One thousand dollars is probably sufficient if you only need checkups and maybe a small dental procedure during the year. But the limit can be reached quickly if you need a root canal, dental implants, dentures or other more complex procedures.
On the other hand, dental discount plans have no annual limits. You can use your dental savings card as often as you like and receive a discount on designated procedures each time. Discounts remain unchanged during the entire year so you never have to wonder how much you’ll save at the participating dentist’s office.
4. Reimbursement Wait Times
Dental insurance doesn’t always pay for procedures up-front. The specifics will depend on the type of policy you have. In some cases, only a small co-pay is required and the dentist will bill the insurance company for the rest.
In other situations, you’ll be required to pay for the entire procedure up-front and then submit a claim to your insurance company for later reimbursement. Weeks or even months might pass before you’re paid back. Plus, you’ll need to have enough money on hand to pay the bill at the time of the procedure.
Dental discount plans are much simpler. Your discount is applied instantly at the office of the participating dentist. There’s no complex paperwork to fill out. The discount is applied, you pay the remainder and the entire payment process is wrapped up before you walk out the door.
5. Cosmetic Procedures
Everyone wants a beautiful smile. In-office cosmetic treatments are the best way to get straight, white teeth. Unfortunately, cosmetic procedures are rarely covered by dental insurance. Instead, dental insurance focuses almost entirely on procedures related to dental health.
Dental discount plans have no such restrictions. Plans offer savings of 15% to 50% on many different procedures including many cosmetic procedures such as tooth whitening and orthodontic care. If you want a healthy smile quickly, Aetna dental discount plans are usually the better way to save.
Dental Insurance and Dental Discount Plans: Which is the Best Option for You?
Both dental insurance policies and Aetna dental discount plans can help you save at the dentist’s office. But the differences between the two are fairly substantial. Dental insurance can be an effective option but there are often restrictions you’ll need to be aware of. Aetna dental plans are usually simpler to use and offer instant savings on many different dental procedures.
The bottom line is cost doesn’t have to prevent you from seeking out the dental care you want and desire. While Aetna dental discount plans often provide the easiest savings, but both Aetna discount plans and traditional insurance policies can help you save big on the dental care you need to stay healthy for life.