Is dental insurance even worth it?

If you're like me, the first time you thought about dental insurance was the first time you went to your dentist after being kicked off your parent's plan. Like most things, we don't understand how expensive it really they really are until they become our own responsibility to pay for. And if you aren't fortunate to be offered this coverage through your employer, many of the individual options available to you simply are not worth it!

This is why for about a two-year span after I was removed from my mom's plan, I opted to go without dental insurance. I justified to myself that with the money I would have paid in premium for a sub par plan, I can self-insure my visits to the dentist. Great thinking, right? I thought so..until those two years had gone by and I had neglected going for even one cleaning, subconsciously knowing that it would mean money out of pocket.

So not having any insurance clearly didn't work for me, but on the other hand, the individual dental plans all seemed to be too expensive for their worth. The first problem with many plans is that their provider networks are extremely limited. So at least in my area, finding a dentist that I was comfortable with who would even participate with any of my options was extremely difficult. Many dentists accept group plans, but can be pretty scarce when it comes to individuals. And while most dental insurances offer out-of-network coverage, they do not protect against balance billing and often times have much less coverage out-of-network. The other problem I encountered was that the benefit amounts didn't amount to much more than what I would have paid in premium. For instance, most individual plans max out at $1,000/year. Well if the amount I pay in premium over 12 months is $700, I'm only saving $300, and that's if I max out my entire policy, meaning more than just two cleanings and an x-ray worth of work.

Then recently a carrier came out with the best dental product I've seen in CT since I've been in the business. It seemed to cover ALL of the bases I was looking for in determining a good deal. For starters, the maximum benefit offered in a year is $1,500, compared to most other options capping at $1,000. Another deal-maker was.....drumroll please.....MY DENTIST IS IN-NETWORK! When I saw this I almost thought it was too good to be true. But the affordability of this plan is what really convinced me that it was something I needed. The monthly cost for myself is $35, which amounts to $420 annually. So I'll pay $420 (which is approximately what two cleanings would've amounted to out-of-pocket - if I went), but I'll also have access to $1,500 worth of basic and major services for the year. That will definitely help towards the $500 mouthguard my dentist insists that I buy!

I get asked about dental insurance all of the time and until now, I haven't recommended many individual plans to my clients solely because I felt in my heart that most of them weren't worth it. When this product came out recently, it made me feel that now I do have an answer for individuals and families that are in need of a good dental plan. This is one of the only plans that passes my test as "a good dental plan" and I'm excited to both have it myself as a consumer, as well as being able to offer it to my clients.

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