Author Topic: Dental insurance in (semi) retirement  (Read 2729 times)

Paul der Krake

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Dental insurance in (semi) retirement
« on: November 04, 2019, 06:13:48 PM »
I'm looking at paying for dental insurance.

Rationale: the negotiated rates are cheaper than what I can negotiate on my own.

I've learned from reading dentist forums (an opiniated bunch!) that HMO plans should be avoided at all cost. The local delta dental PPO plan in WA that covers preventative services 100% (2 cleanings, fluoride, and 1 x-ray per year) comes out at $600 per year. My dentist charges a little more than that just for cleanings and fluoride as the cash price. The coinsurance on the restorative stuff is just a bonus.

Extra bonus of insurance: can be deducted of self-employment income.

What do you do? Have you priced out the alternative? Are there dentists that you would want to go to who will cut a deal to cash customers?


Cali4en

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Re: Dental insurance in (semi) retirement
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2019, 07:22:08 PM »
Cigna DPPO plan here in Texas, but I believe it is a national product.  Covers all the normal stuff, $1,500 annual benefit cap, but as you noted the negotiated discounts are the real value.  I pay $34 per month, which works out to be just about the same cash costs that the 100% covered annual preventables (cleanings, exams, xrays) would be.  Interestingly, the premium hasn't changed in five years, which I find rather unusual.  Never any problems with claims or whatnot, plenty of accepting dentists in our area.


2Muchfun

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Re: Dental insurance in (semi) retirement
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2019, 04:46:20 AM »
I am post-FIRE and tried the HMO dental plans once I retired and found that none of the established dentists were on the plan. The ones that were, like Aspen Dental, insisted on charging me for over-priced fluoride rinses and toothpaste, etc, so my "free cleanings" would cost ~$35, along with the monthly dental plan costs. Also, their cleanings would last only 15 minutes. I tried different offices, etc and truly felt that I was getting sub-par quality dentists and cleanings. Just recently, I went to my dentist (prior to retirement) and said I'd pay cash, as I had no insurance and they explained that they have a plan where I get 2 cleanings, X-rays, an annual exam by the dentist and 20% off anything additional and the plan was ~$350 for the year. So, I'd suggest asking your local dentists if they have their own plan for those without insurance.

Cranky

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Re: Dental insurance in (semi) retirement
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2019, 01:00:11 PM »
Maybe look for a dentist in a smaller town? That seems amazingly high. My dentist charges $100 for cleaning and exam, and I know this because I have crummy teeth and get them cleaned 4 times/year and pay for two of those out of pocket.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Dental insurance in (semi) retirement
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2019, 01:25:31 PM »
Your dentist is REALLY expensive.

My amazing dentist practice (I live in a suburb of a HUGE city) charges $130 for cleaning/exam/xrays. He does not charge for fluoride since he wants people to get it and if they're told they have to pay, then they turn it down, so he throws it in for free.

Just found out they started a deal that you have no insurance, then for $150 a year, you get TWO cleanings AND exams, 1 yearly x-ray, and any services like a filling or crown are 15% off. His fillings are like $120, crown was under $500 (can't remember exactly but it was small hundreds, not thousands for a total crown replacement).

He and his partner dentist are both AMAZINGLY gentle, do not insist on unnecessary work (they are very conservative), but also listen really well. The office has state of the art stuff and his staff (office and hygienists/assistants) are wonderful.

I moved where they're about an hour drive for me now. I continue to see him because of all the above.

Malkynn

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Re: Dental insurance in (semi) retirement
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2019, 01:39:00 PM »
To clarify, are you saying it costs you a little more than  $600 for a year's worth of cleanings and exams? Are these deep cleanings or a "polish"?

That would really factor into whether or not that is a reasonable price.

Mtngrl

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Re: Dental insurance in (semi) retirement
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2019, 08:12:59 AM »
We pay $250/yr (for both of us) for Comfort Dental's Gold Plan, which covers two cleaning and xrays per year and discounts anything else (the discount is 50% off or better.) We have to go to a Comfort Dental practice, but we've been doing this three years now and have been happy with it. Most of the dental plans we looked at were much more expensive and didn't cover much. And paying out of pocket was going to be expensive -- cleaning and xrays run around $300 each here!

Paul der Krake

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Re: Dental insurance in (semi) retirement
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2019, 01:41:55 PM »
Yes, that's what my dentist in an expensive neighborhood of Seattle costs. I looked at past claims and it looks like my current delta dental plan pays them just a bit under the list price for each visit, about $270 for a cleaning.

To be fair I've never shopped around because the real cost has always been hidden from me.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Dental insurance in (semi) retirement
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2019, 02:31:07 PM »
My wife and I have always paid out of pocket.  We have good teeth (knock on wood) and just go to the dentist once a year.  We only get X-rays every other year.  At that level of usage, insurance has never made financial sense.

The "you must go to the dentist every 6 months" mantra was cooked up by the ADA to fill chairs in dentist offices.  Twice a year may be necessary for folks with dental problems, but I've never suffered any ill effects from my once-a-year routine.  One time years ago, after we moved, my wife and I just never got around to finding a new dentist.  We ended up going 5 years without a visit to the dentist.  When we finally did go, the cleanings took a little longer than usual, but we didn't have any other issues.

Goldendog777

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Re: Dental insurance in (semi) retirement
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2019, 03:37:23 PM »
Most dental plans in our area have a waiting period for major work (crowns, root canals,etc) before they will pay.  I found out that since I had MetLife dental with my employer, I could sign up for MetLife Take-A-Long dental and they waive the wait periods.  So thatís what we use.  Pays 100% of cleanings twice a year, I think 80% of fillings, 50% of crowns and root canals, max $1500 a year.