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The Discount Dental Plans Buyers Guide
Looking For Affordable Dental Coverage?According to a recent report issued by the National Association of Dental Plans, only 57% of Americans under age 65 have some sort of dental plan compared to 84% of who have a medical insurance plan. What's worse is that dental insurance tops the list of benefits employers are looking to pare back (Source: SHRM). The increasing number of Americans without dental coverage combined with the rising cost of modern dentistry is why more and more consumers are opting for Reduced Fee For Service or Discount Dental Plans. This new type of dental coverage is marketed directly to consumers which lowers the cost because it bypasses the middleman entirely.
"People with a perfect smile are happier and suffer less stress than those with gap-toothed grins"
Study done by the University of Manchester's School of Dentistry
What Discount Plans Are & What They Are Not
The dental discounts from these plans are targeted towards cost-conscious consumers looking to maintain their oral health while minimizing their dental care expenses. With typical savings of around 33% on each trip you make to a dentist, your typical discount full coverage dental plan can really save individuals, families and college students hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year on all types of dental work including exams, cleanings, fillings, extractioyouns, root canals, bridges, dentures, crowns, braces, etc. Dental providers participating in discount dental plans have agreed to accept a lower fee than they would normally charge as payment in full for any/all dental procedures they perform.
However, discount dental plans ARE NOT INSURANCE. Unlike traditional indemnity dental insurance, discount dental plans have no annual limits, no health restrictions and no tedious paperwork hassles. In addition, consumers must pay either a monthly or yearly membership fee in exchange for the ability to get these discounts on dental services. Most of these plans provide a price list or fee schedule either on the plan's web site or in membership materials to ensure consumers will receive the savings they were promised."With today's escalating dental health care costs, and with many people not being able to afford dental insurance, I have found discount dental plans to be a Godsend and a bargain." - Eric of N. Hollywood, CA; June, 2008
Tips on Buying Discount Dental Plans OnlineBecause studies done by the NADP show that 68% of all buyers pay too much for their dental coverage, Discount Dental 4 U suggests you know the answers to the following questions before purchasing or joining a discount dental plan.
- How Many Local Dentists Practice In My Area?
DiscountDental4u.net strongly recommends that before you enroll in any dental plan, find out how many dentists and dental specialists in your area accept that plan. After all, what good is a discounted dental plan if there aren't any dental providers located within driving distance of where you live. If there are only one or two dental providers nearby, you should call these providers to make sure they are indeed part of the plan that you're considering joining and that they still take it.
- Should I Pay For A Plan By The Month Or The Year?
DiscountDental4u.net recommends buying a dental plan on a monthly basis, especially if you're unsure if you'll be getting dental insurance through your employer in the next 6-8 months. However, it should be noted that subscribing to a discount dental plan on a yearly basis will probably save you more money than if you subscribed on a month-to-month basis. Less money upfront vs. less money in the long-run; your choice.
- To What Extent Does The Plan Cover Specialists?
DiscountDental4u.net recommends choosing a plan that offers discounts of at least 20% and preferably 25% on all work done by dental specialists (Periodontists, Orthodontists, Oral Surgeons, etc.) unless you live in a rural area where just finding a dental specialist is rare, let alone one that accepts discounted dental plans. Please note that many dental procedures usually associated with "Specialists" (whitening, implants and root canals for example) can frequently be done by a general dentist at a much lower cost so don't be so quick to see a "specialist".
- How Long Before Dental Benefits "Kick In"?
DiscountDental4u.net recommends choosing a discount dental plan that allows you to begin using your benefits within a 7 to 10 days of joining, except in a situation where you have a dental emergency and you have no insurance coverage where you need a plan with fast activation so you can see a dentist ASAP.
- How Trustworthy Is The Dental Plan Company?
Despite being part of a very heavily regulated industry, companies that put out affordable dental plans have a history of being fly-by-night operators running "dental plan scams" which, for instance, collect membership fees without providing any real benefits. To guard against this, make sure you only work with legitimate dental plan companies by first checking with your state insurance commissioner to see if the firm is registered. You can reach your state insurance office by visiting NAIC.org.
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How To Comparison Shop For Dental PlansThere can be literally a dozen or more plans in your area for you to choose from, each one with their own group of participating dentists, premiums, fee schedules and restrictions. When purchasing for a discount dental plan, it's important that you take your time and shop around because some plans may cost less per month/year but offer smaller discounts on dental procedures. This could end up costing you more should you use the card at the dentist more than twice in a 12 month period!
Although DiscountDental4U.net doesn't endorse one dental discount card over another, those looking to join a dental discount card plan should go to DentalPlans.com because and they make it easy to comparison shop by allowing you to quickly compare membership fees, participating dentists, dental procedures prices, and much more between 10 to 20 different regional and/or national plans. In addition, you'll save 10% on any plan you purchase! To do so, click on the link below, type in your zip code and begin comparing discount plans available in your area. When you've decided which plan to join, use the SPECIAL 10% OFF COUPON by using the code-word "blurt" when filling out an online application."DentalPlans.com has literally saved me hundreds of dollars already and continues to deliver. I used to have dental insurance from work and paid more for out of pocket expenses and for premiums then what this plan is costing me for 15 months. I wish I had discovered this years ago. Thank you." - Marcel M. Land O' Lakes, FL. September, 2009
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