Author Topic: Dental insurance  (Read 597 times)

fidreamer

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Dental insurance
« on: March 17, 2017, 07:12:00 PM »
Anyone have suggestions on a family dental plan?

Monkey Uncle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 755
  • Location: West-by-god-Virginia
Re: Dental insurance
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2017, 04:31:52 AM »
My family has always self-insured on dental, because the policies never penciled out as cost-effective.  If your teeth are in good shape, you can cut back to once/year checkups & cleanings rather than every 6 months.  The 6 month interval is something that was invented by dentists to get you in their chair more often.  Kind of like the once/year "checkup" that was invented by general practitioners.
"Take this job and shove it" - David Allan Coe

fidreamer

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: Dental insurance
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2017, 08:10:48 AM »
My family has always self-insured on dental, because the policies never penciled out as cost-effective.  If your teeth are in good shape, you can cut back to once/year checkups & cleanings rather than every 6 months.  The 6 month interval is something that was invented by dentists to get you in their chair more often.  Kind of like the once/year "checkup" that was invented by general practitioners.

Really good point.  I am going to look into this.

PizzaSteve

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 284
Re: Dental insurance
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2017, 08:44:19 AM »
In my area i have been very dissappointed by what insurance actually covers.  That '80% coverage' turned out to be more like  25%.  The coverage is a rip off.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 08:25:58 AM by PizzaSteve »
All posts are opinions of the author subject to independent verification by the reader.  No representations of fact are asserted regarding commercial products or services.

crentist

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 14
Re: Dental insurance
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2017, 09:26:21 AM »
My family has always self-insured on dental, because the policies never penciled out as cost-effective.  If your teeth are in good shape, you can cut back to once/year checkups & cleanings rather than every 6 months.  The 6 month interval is something that was invented by dentists to get you in their chair more often.  Kind of like the once/year "checkup" that was invented by general practitioners.

You are mostly correct. People have much better oral health than when these recommendations started.  Most children and elderly= those at highest risk of decay should go twice a year. Most kids should get x rays once a year since the enamel is so thin cavities can wreak havoc quickly. I have some elderly and poor saliva producing patients that come in 3-4 times a year and we usually get an X-ray every 6 months to keep an eye on things. Some patients produce a ton of calculus and really need at least a cleaning every 6 months. I would ask your dentist "do you think it would be ok if I only came once a year?" they will give you an honest answer.  Your diet has more to do with decay than most think...

crentist

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 14
Re: Dental insurance
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2017, 09:33:33 AM »
Find a dentist you trust and isn't upselling etc. and stay with them. I have patients with incipient lesions that I'm afraid if they went somewhere else they would be rec'd fillings. Not really because they are overly aggressive but because I'm just comfortable watching these lesions because I have seen little to no progression for 3-4 years. Now if one of these patients fell off the radar for 2-3 years things can go downhill and go from conservative filling to a large filling or worse.
Insurance is usually a rip off and I'm surprised most employers pay the fees they do. I would bet if people saved a little better dental insurance would be much less common.

TheThirstyStag

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 278
Re: Dental insurance
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2017, 10:32:28 AM »
I have been hesitant to even use the word "insurance" in the context of dental care.  To me, insurance has to have some degree of catastrophic coverage.  With such low calendar-year maxes and generally non-generous coverage amounts for serious oral surgery, I really think that most of these should be called "Dental plans".  They're really budget plans.  Just about anyone on these forums can probably do better if they self-insure in a liquid online savings account. 

That said, there are commercial products (like Dentrite) that are discount plans, but pretty much pay for themselves if you do use 2 checkups per year with bitewing X-rays.  I already took my wife off of my employer's dental "insurance" and she pays for a discount plan - we're already about $1000 in the black over the past 3 years by using this strategy versus putting her on my employer plan.  Then again, she has very healthy teeth. 

If you have access to a FSA or HSA, even better - you can self-insure tax-free.

Hargrove

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 201
Re: Dental insurance
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2017, 10:40:42 AM »
Dental insurance is awful.

I have pretty sweet insurance. My company plan offers full medical, usually no copay, 2k deductible a year but they pay in 1k/yr, so your max deductible is 1k/yr and your lowest is 0 (because it stacks).

My dental plan options with the same company were a 1000 dollar coupon or a 1500 dollar coupon.

The best dental insurance is the trope you usually hear about medical insurance: prevention. Brush your teeth and actually floss. Do the regular checkups and cleaning. I did not do this from a time I didn't have money to go to a dentist. My "catch up contribution" was about 5-6k for a deep cleaning, a few cavities, and crowning one broken tooth, but it would have crept close to 10k if I needed a root canal on the broken tooth.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5273
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Dental insurance
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2017, 10:43:33 AM »
My family has always self-insured on dental, because the policies never penciled out as cost-effective.  If your teeth are in good shape, you can cut back to once/year checkups & cleanings rather than every 6 months.  The 6 month interval is something that was invented by dentists to get you in their chair more often.  Kind of like the once/year "checkup" that was invented by general practitioners.

You are mostly correct. People have much better oral health than when these recommendations started.  Most children and elderly= those at highest risk of decay should go twice a year. Most kids should get x rays once a year since the enamel is so thin cavities can wreak havoc quickly. I have some elderly and poor saliva producing patients that come in 3-4 times a year and we usually get an X-ray every 6 months to keep an eye on things. Some patients produce a ton of calculus and really need at least a cleaning every 6 months. I would ask your dentist "do you think it would be ok if I only came once a year?" they will give you an honest answer.  Your diet has more to do with decay than most think...

I second (third?) these.  We've been FIRE about 2 years.  I switched to once a year checkups and the dentist/hygienist were fine with it.  With each checkup I ask for verification: "Is once a year working for me?"  They always tell me it is and I'm doing fine.

The cost has so far been minimal.  They also give a "cash or check and we don't file insurance" discount.   

People think they need dental insurance because they've been getting it through work for so long. (This is just like they think a healthy person needs a low deductible/low out of pocket health plan.)  It's very nice if you get it for free.  It's not worth paying for if you don't.
Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight

Hargrove

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 201
Re: Dental insurance
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2017, 11:02:16 AM »
People think they need dental insurance because they've been getting it through work for so long. (This is just like they think a healthy person needs a low deductible/low out of pocket health plan.)  It's very nice if you get it for free.  It's not worth paying for if you don't.

With medical I think it's different. Cancer and autoimmune diseases sometimes just happen. Dental, however, can almost always provide 100% effective preventive care, which makes its insurance irrelevant.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5273
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Dental insurance
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2017, 11:05:37 AM »
People think they need dental insurance because they've been getting it through work for so long. (This is just like they think a healthy person needs a low deductible/low out of pocket health plan.)  It's very nice if you get it for free.  It's not worth paying for if you don't.

With medical I think it's different. Cancer and autoimmune diseases sometimes just happen. Dental, however, can almost always provide 100% effective preventive care, which makes its insurance irrelevant.

They do.  That's what high deductible plans are for: to pay those enormous bills.  Paying for checkups and normal stuff is (IMO) not what insurance is for.  It's like car insurance paying for oil changes.
Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight

Hargrove

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 201
Re: Dental insurance
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2017, 12:04:15 PM »
Well, really, we agree on that too, but HDHPs are not affordable for a lot of people. They're AWESOME for Mustachians and rich people (who Mustachians often are), but as a matter for the general population, I think a lot of poor people are hurt by HDHPs until they cross the healthy income/expense ratio to take advantage of them.

I think a person can get out of that rut. I do not think ALL people can get out of that rut.

VeggieGirl

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: Dental insurance
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2017, 06:34:25 PM »
Over the years I've looked into dental insurance a few times and the numbers never seem to work out for what you pay and what you get in benefits. Just not worth it. So like others have posted, I just pay out of pocket and take good care of my teeth. Brush for the full 2 minutes, it makes a huge difference and floss. Find a good dentist that's not out to gouge you. I go every 6 months but only get bitewings every 2 years unless something needs to be x-rayed.

chemistk

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 154
Re: Dental insurance
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2017, 07:05:26 PM »
My employer offers a decent plan, we pay (per year) about what 2 checkups cost OOP. We also know our dentist and trust his opinion, so we feel comfortable going 2x a year.

There was a point last year where this dentist wasn't taking our insurance so we self insured for a lot of our work. 

Even if things were a little more $$, both my wife and I don't have the greatest teeth. We each have week/absent enamel, and each of us will probably need some reconstructive work done down the road. For these reasons, it's worth it for me.

I can definitely see the reasons you'd choose not to have it though.

LorettaLynn

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 91
Re: Dental insurance
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2017, 07:23:58 PM »
This is an area where if you know you have bad dental genetics, you might invest a little more. 

RedmondStash

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 422
Re: Dental insurance
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2017, 10:23:18 PM »
One thing to note if you choose to pay out of pocket for dental costs is that you will likely reduce visits even if it isn't a good idea. It's true with vision insurance too. If you know it's covered at least partly, you go regularly. If you know you're paying for every penny, you're more reluctant to go.

Just be aware of that tendency when making your plans. Make a decision up front as to how often you'll go in for maintenance (consulting the relevant doctors). Otherwise, you're likely to just let it slide unconsciously.