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Finding an Affordable Dental Plan - Questions to Ask

by Helene Zemel

Dental insurance is often the forgotten coverage. For self employed people, the price of dental insurance can be quite formidable. If the self employed entrepreneur has an ongoing or pre-existing condition, he or she will not be able to purchase this insurance. Even among those families that are fortunate enough to have dental insurance, often this coverage is not complete. There can be restrictions for ongoing conditions, long waiting periods, massive paperwork, age limits, and annual limits on how much the patient can spend. Often orthodontia is not fully covered and cosmetic dentistry and implants are almost never included. That is where a good discount dental plan can help.

American consumers have a number of good dental plan companies to choose from. However, not all plans are created equal. Here are some good questions to ask when searching for an affordable family dental plan.

1.How many years has the company been in business? The number of years that a company has been in business will affect the size of the provider networks as well as give you confidence in the service.

2.How much will the plan cost? Is there an enrollment fee? Can I pay monthly or quarterly? If you own a business, be sure to ask whether business or group plans are available.

3.Is the company a member of the NADP (National Association of Dental Plans)?

4.What other consumer protection organizations does the plan belong to?

5.Is there a convenient 800 customer service number to call for information?

6.Is there a wide choice of dental providers available in my area? Can I see a list of neighborhood providers before enrolling in the plan?

7.Are dental maintenance organizations used or does the company have its own proprietary network of dentists?

8.What procedures are covered by the plan, and what are the savings? Is there an available fee schedule that can be printed out?

9.Are there any value added services available such as a prescription card or discounts on vision care and chiropractic treatment?

Remember that a good dental plan will have no limit on visits or services, will have significant savings, will cover orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry, and have a good choice of providers to choose from. After selecting the discount plan of your choice, be sure to make an appointment with your chosen dental provider.

As a Senior Regional Sales Director for Ameriplan®, a discount dental and medical provider access organization, I speak to many people each day who are among the 7 in 10 Americans without an affordable plan. Even when an employer provides medical insurance, it is rare to have a dental plan.