14 Apr Dental Insurance Is More Affordable Than You Think
An overwhelming number of Americans don’t have dental insurance. In fact, about 40% of Americans don’t have dental coverage. If you’re one of those Americans, you might be wondering if you’ll ever make it to the dentist for a check-up. But there is hope; affordable dental insurance is available.
The Facts About Dental Insurance
Although you might think that dental insurance comes with most jobs, it’s not true. Many employers neglect to offer dental policies, and that leaves millions of employs in the lurch. In the US, ı32 million children and adults don’t have dental coverage. When you compare that with the 85% of American people who have medical coverage, it’s a shocking disparity.
Not having insurance is costly. In fact, uninsured procedures are so expensive that it keeps people from getting the dental work that they need. Americans without dental insurance use lack of insurance as the most popular reason for not seeing a dentist. While 81% of people with dental insurance saw a dental professional at least twice in one year, only 34% of uninsured people saw one at least twice.
What does it mean?
Dental hygiene isn’t something to be taken lightly. Going to a dentist once every few years isn’t enough for you to prevent problems in your mouth. In addition to missing out on regular cleanings that can remove plaque and prevent tooth decay, you suffer in other ways. Dental visits can help you identify major problems, like cavities, gum disease, and even oral cancer.
Just think about the statistics. More than 27% of American adults between the ages of 20 and 44 have untreated cavities. With proper dental care, you might be able to treat those cavities with a simple procedure. But without it, they may turn into a bad abscess. The statistics for oral cancer are even more alarming. In the US, over 100 people a day get an oral cancer diagnosis. When someone diagnoses that type of cancer early, there’s an 82% survival rate. But when it goes untreated for too long, that drops to 28%.
Skipping out on the dentist doesn’t only mean trouble for your mouth. Research shows a correlation between oral health and systemic diseases (like HIV, leukemia, and diabetes). For a healthy body, you need to have good oral health.
How can you get affordable dental insurance?
There are several different options for the uninsured.
1. Dental Savings Program
With this program, you pay a yearly fee. In return, you get major discounts on dental services. The annual fee varies depending on the program, as does the discount. However, you usually pay between $50 and $200 and receive a discount of up to 50%. And although you might be worried about finding a dentist who accepts someone enrolled in a dental savings program, it’s not that hard to do. About 60% of dentists participate in some type of savings program.
2. Dental HMO (DHMO)
DHMOS are most often available in cities. You pay between $200 and $300 a year for each person on the plan, and you receive two free cleanings and exams every year. If you need more work done, you pay for other services at a discounted rate.
Only about 20% of dentists participate in DHMOs, so it’s not always an option for dental insurance. But if you can find a local dentist who participates, you can save thousands of dollars on dental work.
3. The Affordable Care Act (ACA)
There may be some changes made to the ACA in light of the recent election, but for now, many health insurance plans through the ACA include dental insurance. You can get great dental coverage in a package with all your other insurance.
4. Other Options
Then again, there are some less conventional options. You can get some dental work done at university dental schools. It’s a learning opportunity for the students and a money-saving opportunity for you. Most universities charge 30-40% less for procedures than a typical dentist office.
You can also look into dental services at community health centers. Some of these centers provide low-cost dental services. However, the services may not offer what you need, or they may be difficult to access due to long waiting lists.
If you’re a veteran, there are even more options for you. You can get dental insurance at a reduced rate. Or, if you were injured on duty, you may qualify for free insurance from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Finally, you can always become a bargain hunter. You need first to familiarize yourself with the going rate for dental procedures. There are several websites that can estimate the cost of a dental procedure in your area without dental insurance. If you go into a few local dentists armed with that knowledge, you may be able to negotiate a lower out-of-pocket cost.
You don’t have to live without dental insurance
Even if you’re on a tight budget, dental insurance is a possibility. You can choose an affordable option that works for your needs and you can get the dental services that you need.