You’ve decided that it’s time to get a jump on you (or your family’s) oral health. One of the first things you’ve decided to do is purchase dental insurance, since it’s not available through your employer’s benefit package and open enrollment is coming up. All of those things being said…is there really an ideal time to purchase dental insurance?
Get Insurance Before You Have Dental Problems
If you already need significant amounts of dental work, you may be disappointed to find out that a brand-new insurance plan won’t cover major work until you’ve had what’s called a “waiting period” pass by.
For example, let’s say you’ve had a tooth crack and need a crown. Your insurance says you can get the preparatory work and a temporary metal crown, but they won’t pay for a permanent porcelain one until you’ve been enrolled for at least six months. Basically, they have to have you pay into your plan first, before they turn around and have enough funds to start paying for major dental work. After you’ve paid your monthly premiums and deductible, you might feel like you could have paid for the crown in full right when you originally needed it.
Enroll at the Beginning of the Year, or by Mid-Year
Traditionally, dental insurance benefits “reset” on January 1st. So, if you’re needing treatment and want to get the most out of your coverage, you have plenty of time to use it up. There’s also the option of waiting until later in the year to get treatment completed, to give you an opportunity to break it up into two phases: end of the year benefits that are left over, and refreshed benefits after your annual maximum allowance has reset. Assuming you’ve already reached your waiting period before treatment is allowed, this could help you to save several hundred dollars. (Not all plans reset according to the calendar year, so check plan details to find out how your plan handles this).
Pay for a Plan That’s Accepted by Your Dentist
You may think you’ve found a great dental insurance plan that’s the perfect price, until you’ve bought it and found out that it’s not accepted at your favorite dentist’s office. In some cases, you may have to transfer to a practice you don’t like at all, just to use the benefits you’re entitled to.
Before enrolling in a plan, ask to see a list of preferred or in-network providers in the area. You’ll be able to see a list of all the dentists that are partners with the plan, where your benefits are most beneficial. Fortunately, the type of plan you have might still be usable at out-of-network dentists’ offices. If that’s the case, you’ll need to check with your dentist prior to enrolling in the plan, to see if they accept it. In these instances, there is always a chance that the plan won’t cover as high of a percentage of the treatment costs, depending on how your dentist’s pricing relates to the insurance company’s pre-defined “fee schedule.”
When is Insurance NOT a Good Idea?
If you have immediate needs, such as an emergency or major dental work that needs to be completed in a relatively short period of time, then signing up on short-notice with a conventional dental insurance plan may not be beneficial. Remember, you may need to let as many as six months pass by before you have access to all of the benefits.
A great alternative to consider is a Aetna dental plan. These Aetna dental discount programs work like insurance in that they allow a 15-50% out of pocket cost reduction on common dental procedures. But, there aren’t any deductibles to pay, waiting periods to meet, or maximum allowable amounts to worry about going over. Enrollees take advantage of the price savings at the dentist’s office, rather than have to file claims and cross their fingers that the treatment is covered at the rate they’re hoping for.
Plus, Aetna discount dental programs are like a membership card that can be used at any participating dentist’s office nation-wide. Even if you’re out of town on vacation or traveling on business, your card will be accepted by participating dentists in that town.
Aetna Dental Offers has affordable Aetna discount dental programs with no annual limits, so you can enjoy savings on your visits all year long. Contact one of our program specialists today to find a plan that fits your budget and start saving immediately!