Thursday, April 16, 2009

Health Care and Discount Dental

According to ArticlesBase.com, Dental plans are totally different from dental insurance. Dental insurance reimburses you for all dental care expenses, but discounted dental plans offer much more. Dental plans offer you a generous discount on every dollar you spend on dental care. Dental Insurance can be rather expensive to opt for and it mostly becomes difficult to pay for expensive dental insurance premiums. More than 100 million people in USA are estimated to be not covered by any dental insurance plan. This is where these dental plans which are reasonably priced but offer great discounts come handy and take the pressure off you and your family.

You can also use dental plans and dental insurance together to increase savings. You can pay lower prices for dental treatment using your membership card even if you're covered by insurance. The best part of the plan: 30-Day Money Back Guarantee! Most of the discounted dental plans offer 30-day money back guarantee. Companies like Careington (around since 1979), located in the Dallas, Texas, area offer even a longer period of 45 days for a refund policy. You can always cancel your subscription if you are not satisfied. You are entitled to receive a complete refund of your money too if the plans are not up to the mark for you. When you're a member of any discount dental plan, then you can always assure your self of a healthy discount by showing your membership card at any of their sponsored dentists. Careington also reports that an average family can save as much as $1200 a year using a discount dental plan. You can get a discount right away on all types of dental treatments, including cosmetic work and orthodontia, like:
• Dental examinations
• Dental cleanings
• X-rays, including Bitewings and Panoramic views
• Fluoride treatments
• Dentures
• Gum surgery and other periodontal work
• Oral surgery, such as extraction of wisdom teeth
• Restorative dental work including fillings, crowns, bridges, etc.

Discount dental plans have various discount dental plans that cover individual members and all household residents. There are absolutely no health restrictions, and you get instantly approved to save between 10% and 60% on all dental expenses. There's absolutely no paperwork to file, because it is the dentist that you pay at the time of your visit and get discounts when receiving the dental service. No age limits are required and even no background checks, including citizenship, are required for a simple plan membership. No problem if you have another bad tooth within just a few days, because there are no limits on the amount of work or visits to the dentist; and you can still avail yourself of discounted dental work. Some discount dental and health plans will also save your money on other healthcare equipment, prescription drugs, eye-glasses, hearing aids, and more health services. The internet has made it quite easy for all people to research dental plan prices with the click of a mouse. It’s essential to research first to find the most cost effective and the best. Since plans are priced based on geographic region, and you will need to enter your zip code first to get the relevant quotes.

When comparing prices, it is necessary to:
1.) Compare prices from several discount dental plan providers. Today, dental plans are much more competitive, and you are sure to find inexpensive membership prices when there is more competition.
2.) A familiar name doesn’t necessarily guarantee better service. Some plans are national and others are local. National plans will usually more famous and recognizable.
3.) Review all the features of each dental plan provider. See if the plans include vision correction options, prescription, and healthcare benefits.
4.) Search for participating dentists in your area, and verify with the provider that their office still is taking the plan.

According to Money Magazine online, it is crucial to understand that this is not insurance; it's simply a way to snag lower fees. Participating dentists cut their rates because they don't have to go through the time and expense of filing an insurance claim and waiting for payment, since you pay the bill before leaving the office. Typical savings: between 20 and 30 percent, though it can be higher depending on the procedure--some savings can be as much as 60% on preventive procedures. If you currently play dental roulette by paying for all your dental work out of pocket, forking over $100 or so a year to enroll in a dental plan provides a bit of a cushion if you run into major costs. And even if you have other dental coverage, discount dental may be a smart way to pay for cosmetic procedures, which generally are not covered by insurance, and orthodontics, which is usually only partially covered. Beware, however--there is a history of fraudulent discount dental firms collecting membership fees without providing any service. So make sure you are working with a legitimate firm by sticking with major players like Careington, Aetna, Cigna and WellPoint's Uni-Care affiliate, and by checking with your state insurance commissioner to make sure the firm is registered. (You can reach your state insurance office by starting at www.naic.org.) Don't send in money before you receive plan documents, which should include a fee schedule for participating dentists in your area. And check that there are indeed in-plan dentists and dental specialists near you and that they're providers you'd actually like to go to in your area.

According to Smart Money Magazine online, some people simply don't feel comfortable without some type of protection. But again, there aren't many options available to individuals beyond the dental discount-card plans. And while some make sense, many aren't worth your money. For a small monthly fee of about $10, these plans give you access to a network of dentists who will charge you a discounted fee for each procedure. The discount can be as generous as 50% off normal charges. The largest and best-known plans are offered by Careington International , with over 70,000 participating locations nationwide, and AmeriPlan USA. Trouble is, some dentists think there's a stigma attached to accepting a discount plan. So you may find the network of dentists quite small in certain regions. Dentists in New York City, for example, rarely participate in such plans. However, there are thousands of dentists who participate in NYC with Careington. Yet, just across the river in New Jersey, plenty of dentists participate. Residents of California and Texas should have no problem finding a strong network of doctors offering their services at discounted rates. Residents in less populated states such as Maine or Montana, on the other hand, are out of luck. It's often very hard for these plans to break into smaller towns where there are two or three established dentists who don't need more business. If you can find a plan with a dentist you trust, the savings can be substantial. Unlike with traditional insurance plans, there are no deductibles or caps on benefits you can receive; and all pre-existing conditions are included. But, plenty of smaller fly-by-night companies that should be avoided. (And, since these plans aren't technically insurance companies, they don't need to be licensed by each state they do business in.) Some of these plans are out-and-out scams. They take your money and vanish in the night. Others over promise, advertising that certain dentists are part of their network even though these doctors have never agreed to participate.

How can you identify the good discount plans from the bad? Smart Money reports the following ways you can find out who the good guys are:
--Avoid any company that asks you to send in your money before it mails you membership information. All legitimate plans will be more than happy to send you their marketing materials before you lay out any cash.
--Call a few doctors on the network list to make sure they are indeed part of the plan.
--Check with the secretary of state in your state to see if the company has registered, a requirement for any legitimate business. You may even be able check for this online.
--Ask for the company's national or local office address. Be wary if the person on the other end of the phone will only provide you with a post office box.
--Find out if the discount companies participate in the trade watchdog Consumer Health Alliance as a member company.

You can save a huge amount of money using a discount dental plan. In a down economy, every little bit helps, especially in dental and health care. Do your homework before joining one, but use your plan frequently to maintain good dental health. Reports have been published about how poor dental hygiene leads to more critical health issues. Save money up front with a reputable discount dental plan, and save more money over the long term with maintaining proper dental health.

Until next time. Let me know what you think.

1 comment:

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