How Does Dental Insurance Work?
Most people think of dental insurance as... insurance.
It actually works more like a coupon that often doesn't actually save you much money.
I enjoy using this blog to share answers to questions I am commonly asked by patients. Unfortunately, the most common questions I receive daily have to do with how dental insurance works, and the answers are often so convoluted, I barely understand them myself.
Although many people think about insurance as a means to access healthcare, the shameful truth is that, at least in dentistry, dental insurance often causes much more harm than good.
Each day, my team members and I have to spend an obscene amount of time fighting for you against dental insurance companies to secure coverage for needed procedures, as well as explaining complicated rules and restrictions to confused patients.
These resources could be better spent increasing our knowledge of dentistry or spending quality time with patients providing care and answering dental questions.
How is Dental Insurance Different Than Medical Insurance?
The idea of any type of insurance is to spread out risk among a group of members, so that if a large, unexpected expense is incurred, you as a member are “insured” against having to pay it all out of pocket. This is why most people choose to buy health insurance, to act as a “stop-loss” in the case of an emergency or illness, when medical bills could add up to the tens or even hundreds of thousands.
Dental insurance offers no such protection, since it works more like a coupon, giving you just enough credit for a couple exams and cleanings and maybe a minor procedure or two. As opposed to how medical insurance treats most emergencies, dental insurance almost always caps coverage well below the cost of treating a major dental problem.
When dental insurance began to be popular in the 1970s, annual maximums were set to about $1000. Today, most plans still have a yearly maximum between $1000-$2000, despite inflation reducing the value of that benefit by about ten times!
And if you are purchasing your own dental plan (as opposed to getting a group plan from an employer), you may find that you end up paying much more for your annual premiums than you would have paid out-of-pocket for dental care with no dental insurance! This is especially true since most individually purchased plans include a long waiting period before treatment is actually covered, along with having other restrictions.
Learn more about the types of dental insurance and how to avoid choosing a misleading or essentially worthless plan.
What Wave Dental Is Doing to Help
In this difficult time, many Americans have found themselves unemployed and uninsured. We want to do our part in easing the burdens of those affected by the pandemic in our community by offering several options.
Wave Dental Membership Plan
- Wave Dental’s In-Office Membership Plan is perfect for patients who do not have dental insurance. For less than $30/month, patients receive two exams and cleanings, with any required x-rays included, a discount of 25% on treatment, and more
- The Membership Plan is not dental insurance, and therefore does not have frequency limitations, pre-existing condition exclusions, waiting periods, annual maximums, or deductibles
- Family plans are also available!
- Learn more or sign up for the plan here
Financial Assistance Program
- We have partnered with local non-profits to provide heavily discounted care to qualifying families, based on income and other factors, after a financial coaching interview with the organization
Special availability to patients affected by COVID-19
- For patients who do not qualify or still have no ability to pay, our staff will work to help you schedule an appointment with a federally funded dental clinic or other local charity to ensure your needs are met at little or no cost
- Please contact our office to apply
Zero Interest Financing Options
- We work with CareCredit and other companies to offer financing to patients with qualifying credit, often at zero interest
- Our staff can help you apply and find out if you qualify in minutes
Thank you for reading, and please feel free to reach out with any questions.