Author Topic: Forego dental insurance?  (Read 5398 times)

Freedom2016

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Forego dental insurance?
« on: November 23, 2015, 02:58:51 PM »
Hi Mustachians,

I currently have dental through my job. However, I'm leaving my job next month and am not eligible for COBRA (company is too small). DH is not currently employed, and I will be an independent contractor for the next little while.

The dental policies on our state's exchange start at $100/mo premium, and neither my husband's nor my dentist are in the cheapest policy's network. DH and I have never needed anything other than periodic cleanings and X rays. We're thus contemplating self-paying for dental care in 2016. We will call our respective dentists' offices to find out what the self-pay rates are.

I am a big fan of having health insurance in place, but dental care doesn't seem to come with the same catastrophic risks so I feel less strongly about it.

What should we put into our cost/benefit analysis to ensure we've considered all angles on this?


AmandaS1989

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Re: Forego dental insurance?
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2015, 03:00:31 PM »
Maybe you could ask your dentist what discount plans they accept. It's not as good as insurance, but it's cheaper and could save you some money.

Freedom2016

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Re: Forego dental insurance?
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2015, 03:02:54 PM »
I have never heard of a dental discount plan! Great, I'll follow up on that.

justajane

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Re: Forego dental insurance?
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2015, 03:10:54 PM »
This is something that I think you could forgo for a time, unlike health insurance. Yes, dental care can cost tens of thousands, but it won't cost millions like having no health insurance could. 

I would still suggest getting a cleaning at least once a year, but that should cost $200 tops.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Forego dental insurance?
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2015, 04:06:14 PM »
Unless your employer throws in a big subsidy and/or you are on a family plan of say 4 or more, dental insurance is at best, a budgeting plan.  If you follow the math, even when you have serious issues, it's mostly smoke and mirrors.  Usually, you are insuring at the most $1,000 per person.  Personally, I put $25 every other week in a virtual "dental account".  I have started doing maintenance through Groupon offers.  You don't need to accept what your dentists charges without questioning and shopping around.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Forego dental insurance?
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2015, 05:49:46 PM »
Agree that it is not necessary at that price, especially in the short term--you said you would be a contractor "for a while," as if that might change. I would make sure to have a cash cushion that could cover things like dental emergencies.

jawisco

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Re: Forego dental insurance?
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2015, 06:27:59 PM »
Dental insurance isn't worth having unless someone else is paying. 

AlwaysBeenASaver

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Re: Forego dental insurance?
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2015, 06:58:50 PM »
My hygienist told me dental insurance is rarely worth paying for because it covers so little if you actually have a dental issue. It usually only covers up to around $1500 or so, if even that much.

If expensive dental issues come up, there are other options, I think there might be a thread on here somewhere about it. Options such as having the dental work done in another country, or at a dental school.

Freedom2016

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Re: Forego dental insurance?
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2015, 06:59:16 PM »
We have a robust emergency fund, so we would be able to pay for fillings or a root canal or what-have-you. I'll call the dentists tomorrow to find out their self-pay rates and discount plans. Barring surprising numbers from the dentists, it's looking like foregoing the insurance will be the best decision. Thanks for the input, all!

Gevans17

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Re: Forego dental insurance?
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2016, 08:36:44 PM »
dental insurance is like insuring haircuts. the plans rarely cover more than $1000/ year, the same benefit that was offered 30 years ago. I can assure you that the premiums and dental fees have not stayed level for that period. save your money and pay for your own dental care.

TheAnonOne

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Re: Forego dental insurance?
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2016, 12:47:11 PM »
Dental insurance is pointless.

My story:

I had no insurance... got a filling, $150-200 total.

I had insurance years later... got a filling $200 co-pay

My dentist also offers coupons.... $50 for cleaning, comes with a $50 credit to other work....


StacheInAFlash

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Re: Forego dental insurance?
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2016, 01:16:18 PM »
Yeah, $1200 a year is an absurd amount to pay for dental insurance, since, as others have already said, it typically maxes out at $1000 or $1500 per person per year, and typically only checkups and cleanings are "free". Getting a filling or other things will still require you to pay 20% or more, so add that to your $1200 you're paying. Save the money and pay out of pocket, and definitely check out each dentist's "dental plan"--they all have them, and they typically run a $200-$300 per person and cover the usual preventative care. Keep in mind though, they are still priced to make them money, and they do that by padding it with crappy extras, like flouride treatments or, God forbid, the whitening treatments.

My dental insurance through work costs under $50 A YEAR. So, it makes sense for me to have it. If I were to add my spouse, however, it is all of a sudden it is $600 a year...definitely not worth it to include her. So, we save that $550 which is more than enough to cover nearly all dental concerns we feel are likely to occur.


iris lily

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Re: Forego dental insurance?
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2016, 01:27:00 PM »
We are 61 years old and have never had dental,insurance. We kustbpay when things comeup.,granted, this verynseldom come up. We both have cleanings 2X annually.

mm1970

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Re: Forego dental insurance?
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2016, 01:32:43 PM »
Yeah, $1200 a year is an absurd amount to pay for dental insurance, since, as others have already said, it typically maxes out at $1000 or $1500 per person per year, and typically only checkups and cleanings are "free". Getting a filling or other things will still require you to pay 20% or more, so add that to your $1200 you're paying. Save the money and pay out of pocket, and definitely check out each dentist's "dental plan"--they all have them, and they typically run a $200-$300 per person and cover the usual preventative care. Keep in mind though, they are still priced to make them money, and they do that by padding it with crappy extras, like flouride treatments or, God forbid, the whitening treatments.

My dental insurance through work costs under $50 A YEAR. So, it makes sense for me to have it. If I were to add my spouse, however, it is all of a sudden it is $600 a year...definitely not worth it to include her. So, we save that $550 which is more than enough to cover nearly all dental concerns we feel are likely to occur.
This will largely depend.

Mostly this is true.

However, I have my family on dental, and we pay $1000 a year in premiums.

My company has 3 tiers of dental
- the free one (few choices of dentists)
- the low cost one (20 choices)
- the premium plan (everyone)

We opted to pay out of pocket for several years.  We had the "free" plan but my dentist wasn't on it, and neither was the pediatric dentist.  We saved some money paying cash, but note that it's $200-250 per visit, x2 visits per year, x3 people = $1350 per year.

Then we did two things:
1.  We both needed more dental work.  We're in our 40s, some fillings started to go, needed crowns.
2.  Had another kid.

So now we had 4 people, 2 visits per person per year.
AND on top of that - two crowns, a root canal, an implant.

The coverage isn't awesome in any one of those, but trust me, we get more than $1000 a year of coverage for the family.

Depending on the type of coverage and the size of your family, it *can* pay for itself.  It just usually does not.

Inaya

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Re: Forego dental insurance?
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2016, 01:39:28 PM »
I paid for unused dental insurance for years. Finally got a cleaning, then cancelled it. (Now I'm paying for the follows ups out of pocket, still paying less than the premiums cost.)

YMMV based on your teeth. I apparently have miracle teeth--went 10 years without a dental visit and only needed deep cleaning to get them in ship shape ($400 which was 80% covered by the insurance; got my money's worth for that year). I've also only had 1 cavity in my 30-year life, and flossing is the devil so I don't. Glad I got some good genes after all.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2016, 01:41:52 PM by Inaya »

smalllife

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Re: Forego dental insurance?
« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2016, 02:31:26 PM »
Cash at my dentist is about $350 a year for all the preventive care, rays, etc.  I signed up for the plan at my current company because all of the above and then some is covered 100% for less than the cash price. Last job, employee only coverage was $450 a year plus corpus, so I paid cash.  It varies.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2016, 03:25:43 PM by smalllife »

AlwaysLearningToSave

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Re: Forego dental insurance?
« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2016, 03:12:14 PM »
I think dentists are one of those service providers that scare people into paying for unnecessary services.  Consider: you go in once or twice per year to get a cleaning and x-rays.  They use all the fancy cleaning equipment on the exposed surfaces of your teeth and they become squeaky clean (much cleaner than I can get at home with a manual toothbrush).  But then the hygienist uses the same old wax dental floss that anyone can purchase anywhere to clean between your teeth!  Where do people get cavities?  Generally not on the exposed surfaces of your teeth!  Cavities usually occur in the spaces between teeth-- you know, in that area where the dental hygienist you pay through the nose uses the same old technology you use at home. 

We do not have dental insurance through work and don't pay for it.  I go in for a cleaning and x-rays once per year.  At home I brush my teeth at least once per day and floss daily.  I also try to avoid sugary foods and drinks.  I'm considering continuing annual cleanings but switching to x-rays once every two years.

Also, remember that dental expenses are HSA-eligible expenses, so save your receipts!

JoJo

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Re: Forego dental insurance?
« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2016, 06:08:07 PM »
My employer offers but I dropped 2 years ago.  Cost was about $300 a year and came with 2 preventative visits per year with $5 copay.  Everything else had higher copays.

I now go to a dentist when I visit my parents in a LCOL place and pay $105 for annual cleaning & dentist check up.  No problems yet.  If I had some hugely expensive thing come up (hasn't happened yet) I'd consider dental tourism.