Pre-Paid Dental Plans
Iíve had one since the 1980ís and it saved me a whole chunk of change.
Iíve mostly had the Delta Dental Plans, which I now have directly through Delta, but when I was in California I got my Delta Plan there through PMI.
Plans, premiums and coverage varies widely from plan to plan. I currently pay about $100 a year and get 80% coverage with a 20% co-payment on all services after a modest deductible and up to a yearly maximum coverage amount.
Previously my California individual plan was as comprehensive. On that one I paid based on a rate schedule that was between 50 and 75% of normal fees, but I get a free oral exam and x-rays. Clean was a flat $20.
Under my old plan, for example, a filing that cost me about $50 at a discount clinic dentist only cost $31 on the PMI/Delta Individual plan. When I needed a cap for a tooth one Dentist quoted me $475 but on the PMI/Delta plan I paid only $225.
On the PMI/Delta plan you picked on Dentist and had to stay with them for the entire year, unless you had a serious reason to switch (such as moving or really not liking the facilities or service). I kept my dentist for 20 years and traveled just to go there because Iím a wimp when it comes to the Dentist and once I find one Iím comfortable with I stay there.
Under the new group plan from Delta I can go to any of the Dentists on their list at any time and switch with no rhyme or reason. I first have to meet a $200 deductible, which if you are healthy in the mouth wonít be easy to meet in a year. If, however, you have a few cavities a $400 total bill will cost you only about $280 out of the pocket and should you need a serious procedure such as a root canal or scaling (Periodontal treatment for gum problems) the total could shoot up to $2,000 but you will only be paying about $500 out of the pocket.
Well established Dentists are rarely on these plans. You mostly find newly re-located practices, foreign transplants (in my area a lot of them are Russian and Middle Eastern) and Dental Clinics who often employ Dentists fresh from the University who donít have the capital or clientele to open their own office (which can easily cost $500,000 to equip plus $200,000 a year to run with staff).
The quality of the individual Dentists can go from very green to quite experienced. My Dentist in California had recently relocated there from Ohio where he had a private practice and also did Dental work for the Ohio School system. When he bought the office in California the various insurance groups he aligned with provided him with a quick client base, supplies and operating capital.
A Dentist can easily get a $5,000 check to cover an initial group of people and this can continue monthly or quarterly as more sign up with the plan. After that the Dentist gets the co-payment of between half and three-quarters of the book rate. Some plans also provide the Dentist with materials for metal fillings (Amalgam), local anesthetic (Xylocaine), X-ray films or tooth cleaning (polish) as a part of the deal.
Before I started on the PMI plan I saw a Clinic Dentist who did three teeth and took x-rays and it cost me close to $150. I was told I needed three root canals which would cost me an additional $4,000.
When I moved to the PMI plan Dentist my X-rays were free, the three teeth that I was told needed root canals got fixed with normal fillings (one eventually needed a root canal some 8 years later and another eventually needed a cap). Total cost was $75 for the initial work and the later work of the root canal and cap cost only $400, a far cry from the $4,150 that the Clinic Dentist was trying to get out of me!
Some plans are available through groups, organizations and employers. Others are private, individual plans for people and even families.
Plans currently cost as low as about $100 per year and as high as about $20 a month.
Other plans in California include Smile Saver, which even covers cosmetic Dentistry, and Safe Guard. Safe Guard has several plans that vary from $100 to $140 per year with co-payments starting at $5 for an office visit and filings from $30 to $50.
In Florida there is http://www.floridadentalinsurance.com/benefits.htm which costs about $130 a year and offers many free services and discount rates, such as filings for $30 to $50 and crowns for $350.
For other areas: http://www.maxdental.com/discount.htm