Very few people actually LIKE paying for health insurance, myself included. However, there is a type of insurance that I recently do not mind paying one bit- dental insurance.
How Dental Insurance Works
There are different types of dental insurance, but the most common typically requires you to pay a deductible dictated by the plan, and the plan will cover up to a certain amount per year for services. For each service, the dentist and insurance provider have a rate that’s agreed upon, which is typically less than the full price of the service. The plan also (usually) only covers a certain percentage of the negotiated price for the service you receive. For example, a dentist’s price for a filling may be $319, but the negotiated rate with your insurance provider may only be $200. Your plan may cover 90% of fillings, which would then require you to pay the other 10%, or $20, for it.
Understanding how dental insurance works is certainly important, but what I think may be even more important is understanding why you should have it. I am a walking advertisement for dental insurance.
What Can Happen When You Are Uninsured
About three years ago, i turned 26 and was no longer able to stay on my parent’s health insurance plan, which included dental coverage. At the same time, i was also in graduate school, only teaching very part-time. I did some research and found a major medical plan through the health insurance marketplace and decided it wouldn’t be a big deal to forego the dental coverage until i finished grad school (i needed every penny i could save!). This was probably one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made in my adult life.
Two and a half years later, I was offered dental insurance through a new job and decided to enroll. I found myself a dentist, scheduled a check-up, went to said check-up, and got some pretty terrible dental news. Because I put off getting dental insurance (and therefore put off going to the dentist), I have found myself with dozens of procedures- ranging from fillings to root canals to crowns- that need to be done.
You’re probably thinking, “but you have dental insurance to pay for that,” and that’s partly true. However, dental insurance only covers up to a certain amount each year, like I mentioned. For my plan, this is $1500, and with all of the work I need done, that number will far be exceeded… exceeded by thousands.
Words of Advice
My dentist highly recommends that I don’t postpone these procedures until my insurance restarts next year (believe me, I asked). He tells me that “if you’re going to wait for insurance, you’re always going to be waiting for insurance.” At first I found his words to be harsh, but now I completely agree. If I just wait and have a little done when the insurance covers it, I’ll always be trying to catch up, which will likely just breed more problems in the meantime.
I understand that not everyone will experience the same poor dental misfortune that I have, but I had no idea I would encounter so many issues either. If I had any indication of the problems, I definitely would have sucked it up and just bought dental insurance along with my Obamacare plan in the marketplace. That said, you really just never know and it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Lesson learned.
So please, please learn from my mistakes. Get dental insurance, get your exams, get a cavity filled here and there so that you don’t end up like me and have to have a cavity filled nearly EVERYWHERE.