Your smile is how the world first sees you so it can be really important to feel the confidence that comes with a great set of teeth. Having that smile maintained and fixed when there are problems can be expensive enough to wipe the smile right off of your face. Although many people have some dental insurance coverage with their employers, that only accounts for less than 50% of the population. In 2015, there were over 100 million Americans without any dental coverage at all.
For nearly all benefits, the maximum payable for dental work in a year is only $1500. That rate hasn’t changed in over 30 years even though inflation and technical improvements. If you are lucky you may get by just under that cap if you can avoid any problems or more complex procedures. For many families, only your regular checkups are covered by that amount and there is rarely any coverage for any type of cosmetic dentistry.
So how do you plan for the unexpected? What happens if you lose a tooth by accident, or you need a root canal? These types of procedures can be very expensive and are not necessarily covered under your policy. You may end up with the full bill for a tooth extraction or implant costs that can be overwhelming for your budget. There are a few things to keep in mind when you need to pay a big dental bill, just to be prepared if that time should ever come.
Shop For Extended Coverage
If you do not currently have any sort of benefits package from your employer, it may be time to think about getting some private insurance coverage for your benefit. There is an unlimited number of plans available depending on your coverage needs and your budget.
Compare all of the coverage limitations between prospective plans as well as the deductibles, co-pays and monthly costs. If you are currently on Medicare you should look into the Advantage Coverage that can help you with dental expenses. If you are a military veteran, check the Veterans Affairs website for information on dental coverage options.
Cut Your Costs
Have an open discussion with your dentist about your options. If they are recommending a procedure that may not be covered under your insurance, make sure to ask about all of your other options. If you are going to need more than one appointment, see if your dentist can space the dates far enough apart to be easier on your budget.
Never be afraid to haggle a little bit. You never know what kind of deals you may be able to get if you just ask.
Work Your Existing Coverage
If you and your partner both have dental coverage from work you can claim your bill under both policies. If one policy will only cover 60% of the amount then you can apply the remaining 40% to your other policy. You may be able to schedule your procedure to span over the year-end of your policy to divide it between two-year cycles.
For example, if your coverage range expires in December, then you can ask your dentist to spread out the procedures from December and into January so you can claim in two years to lessen the weight of the expense.
Many dentists have several kinds of payment plans that can allow you to pay in installments for treatment that is needed. It may be easier for you to pay out your balance on a weekly or monthly schedule instead of a larger lump sum. When asking about a payment plan make sure that your procedure qualifies for the plan, know the debt timeline, interest amount and whether they will be doing a credit check.