Now we know that regular dental visits can decrease tooth decay, provide cost savings, help prevent costly procedures, improve your overall health and ensure early detection of oral cancer. But there still may be a time when an expensive procedure or major dental work comes up. So, what happens next?
Before you visit the dentist, we want to help give you peace of mind, knowing that you are financially prepared for your appointments. And if your dentist has informed you that you need a pricey procedure, it may be in your best interest to create a dental budget to ensure you’ve got your visits covered. If you have dental insurance, there are also ways to reduce balance billing and keep costs lower. So, let’s talk about them, in the 4-step process we’ve put together to help create your dental care budget.
1. Check your dental plan
If you have a dental plan, we want you to make the most of your benefits, and it all starts with understanding your dental plan to see what is covered first. As you are reading through your plan summary, you’ll see that procedures are typically grouped into three coverage categories: Preventive, basic and major. These will vary by plan so first locate them on your plan summary to see what’s covered. Next, check your deductible, which is the portion of dental care expenses you will pay before the dental plan starts paying benefits. Usually this will apply to basic and major services. And lastly, you’ll also want to double check what network you are on because using a network dentist will grant you lower out of pocket costs.
2. Ask about all treatment options
Sometimes, there is more than one treatment option when it comes to certain dental procedures. There are also situations where treatment may be done over different segments (different months) to incorporate available benefits. Be sure to ask your dentist about what is available to you, before making a treatment decision.
3. Request a Pre-Determination
If you have a dental procedure coming up that you want to plan ahead for, we recommend requesting a pre-determination of benefits. This is a great tool to see what a procedure may cost and how much your dental plan will cover. You can request a pre-determination of benefits through your dentist at any time. Although it is not required, we actually recommend it for major procedures to avoid any potential surprises. We will send both you and your dentist a cost estimate before you even sit down in the dental chair.
4. Calculate your budget amounts
After you’ve received your predetermination of benefits, add in any applicable deductible costs, and then decide how many months you’d like to save for your procedure. If you are saving for three months, divide the total cost by 3 to figure the monthly amount to set aside in your budget. Then, start saving that portion each month and schedule your appointment once completed.
Again, to get the most out of your dental plan, we encourage using an in-network dentist for lower out of pocket costs, full preventive service coverage and additional discounts on other services. You can still use an out of network dentist but staying in network will give you even more savings. With 360,000 access points nationwide, you can be confident that you’ll find the right provider near you. To find a new dentist, or for a map of providers in your area, click here.
And if you ever have any questions about your coverage, give our Customer Care team a call at 1-800-999-8789. We’re available Monday through Friday from 7AM to 6PM Mountain Time.