When you get a quote for dental insurance, be sure you know which kind of plan you're looking at. Some plans are dental discount plans and some are PPO or DMO-style insurance plans. Before you choose, compare costs and features to make sure you're choosing the right plan for your family's needs.
What's a Dental Discount Plan?
A dental discount plan offers deep savings on the dental care you need. They're usually less expensive than a traditional PPO or DMO-style insurance plan. For example, you can get a single member discount dental plan for less than $12/month. A whole family can join for less than $25/month.
When you need dental care, you'll pay per service at a rate set by your discount plan. For most, a cleaning will cost between $40 and $60. That's still deeply discounted over a 100% out-of-pocket rate. If you need preventive or restorative services, those are also offered on a price-per-service basis. A filling, for example, will cost between $60 and $90 depending on your plan.
The good thing about dental discount plans is their low monthly payment. If you need every dollar available for other bills and don't think you'll need a lot of dental work, you can end up saving big each month. If you need lots of restorative work (think crowns, bridges, or root canals), you might want to opt for more comprehensive PPO-style coverage.
What's a Dental PPO or Dental HMO Plan?
You're probably familiar with the structure of these plans if you have health insurance. Monthly payments are a little higher than a dental discount plan. One person will pay between $20 and $70 per month, depending on how much coverage you need, what you want your deductible to be, and what you want your plan maximum per year to be. The prices for a family range from about $60 to $200. One of the most popular companies offering this type of plan is Delta Dental.
PPO dental insurance gives you more options in terms of things like waiting period and the out-of-pocket cost you pay for services like cleanings, fillings, crowns, and root canals. There's a lot of freedom to choose a low-priced plan that covers just the basics, or a plan that costs a little more but has no waiting period and covers some or all of complicated services like root canals and orthodontics.
So what's the best dental insurance for your family? The decision boils down to the kind of care you think you and your family need. If your needs are minimal, a discount plan can work. If you think you'll need things like crowns or braces, Delta dental insurance or a PPO-style plan offers more benefits for you.