Informed Consumers are Happy Consumers

Several months ago this column presented some of the challenges inherent in the current dental insurance system.  Recent changes to the healthcare system and, subsequently, to the dental care system have presented a wide range of new insurance products, both for medicine and dentistry.  We find that many are purchasing dental insurance only to find that it does not actually provide the coverage they hoped it would.

The result of all this is that there is a growing number of consumers with unmet expectations.  They are unhappy because the product they purchased (dental insurance) is not fulfilling the purpose they expected it to.  In the end, many consumers are spending more due to the fact that the insurance they purchased does not meet the need they have so they end up making other purchases to cover what they need.

There is a simple solution to this growing problem.  Education.  In order to become appropriately educated, it is important to seek out a trusted source for information.  I suggest dental consumers contact their dental office prior to making any dental insurance purchases or changes.  The insurance coordinator at the dental office is the perfect person to consult with as s/he works with many insurance companies and plans each day.  S/he knows which companies are easy to work with and which are difficult.  And s/he can share which companies provide better coverage and value than others.  A quick conversation with the insurance coordinator at your dental office can save you a lot of time, headache, and, yes, even money!

Another option to dental insurance is the Today’s Dentistry Dental Plan.  (Here comes the shameless plug – please skip forward if you are allergic to those ;^)  The Dental plan costs $285 for an annual membership.  Additional adult family members can be added for $205 and children (0-13 years old) for $185.  Each membership provides significant benefits, including a complete examination with any necessary radiographs, two healthy mouth cleanings, discounted emergency exams, whitening appliances if desired, AND a 20% discount on any dental treatment.

At Today’s Dentistry, we have many people who choose this option.  It is easy to work with, saves money, and does not exclude important services as traditional dental insurance sometimes does.  If you are interested in learning more about our Dental Plan, please visit our website, www.ashlanddentist.com , select the “Patient Resources” tab and click on Dental Plan Details.

When considering any dental insurance, it is important to realize that the insurance company makes money when an insured individual does not use his or her benefits.  And, when those benefits are used, there is an effort to make sure the lowest cost repair is the one used.  However, the lowest cost repair is not always the best way address the problem.

Some of you may be familiar with the home renovation expert, Mike Holmes.  He discourages using shortcuts, a Band-Aid approach, and inferior building practices and materials because they often leave homeowners in dangerous situations or end up costing the homeowner more money.  This concept can be applied to dental care and our approach to fixing damaged mouths.  If we want something to last, it needs to be built to last.  Sometimes dental insurance won’t pay for what is needed to create a functional, esthetic, long-lasting solution to some dental problems.

So, before you go out and buy a new dental insurance plan, please take some time and call your dental office, talk with the insurance coordinator, and educate yourself with respect to the options available for your dental care.  You’ll likely be glad you did!