When it comes to paying the cost of dental care, patients have options. You can choose dental insurance, something you can get as an individual or through your employer. Or you can take your chances with a discount dental plan.
What is a discount dental plan and how does it compare to dental insurance?
Discount dental plans — These plans are not insurance. Think of them more like purchasing a membership to discounted care. Often times, dental offices or health insurance providers offer discount dental plans. These require an annual fee on top of the cost of procedures and treatments.
With discount dental plans, there are no deductibles, coinsurance payments, waiting periods, or annual maximums. There are also no claims or risk pools, and no covered treatments, provider networks, or flat-rate costs. Instead, members receive variable savings on the cost of their treatments. Everything is an out-of-pocket expense.
While discount dental plans may sound like a good idea upon first glance, patients see greater overall savings with a dental insurance plan.
Research has proven that Americans with dental benefits are more likely to go to the dentist. They’re also more likely to take their children to the dentist, receive restorative care, and experience greater overall health. Weigh your options accordingly to care for your smile!
What Makes Dental Insurance Different — Dental insurance plans are based on a risk pool, which means that your monthly premium gives you access to coverage should you need—similar to how regular health insurance works.
Here’s the difference: dental benefit plans operate under a preventive model, where plans are designed to help you eliminate health concerns before they start. If that doesn’t happen, dental benefits help you to quickly identify and resolve them before they get any worse—or more expensive.
Annual exams and cleanings, routine x-rays, and fluoride treatments are considered preventive care items that are designed to keep you healthy and happy, and they’re often offered for free or at a significant discount.
Additionally, Hawaii Dental Service offers the largest network of dentists in the nation, all of whom have agreed to discounted and predetermined pricing on dental services in order to provide members with the best experience. And once you’ve met your plan’s deductible, you’re only responsible for a portion of the cost— Hawaii Dental Service covers the rest.