Posts for tag: Insurance
With the major changes in healthcare over the last few years, much of what we understand about insurance has been turned on its head. The term “Insurance” now often means something much different than how it’s traditionally understood.
Dental insurance is a prime example. Rather than a means to protect the insured from unforeseen costs, most dental policies work more like discount coupons. The vast majority are paid by employers as a salary benefit to reduce but rarely eliminate an employee’s treatment costs.
In fact, paying dental insurance premiums yourself may not be cost-effective. The average person spends $200 a year on basic care, while a typical policy costs $500 or more annually. Even if the plan fully paid for basic items like cleanings and checkups, the total cost with insurance can still be greater than paying out of pocket. Most plans also have deductibles — the fee portion the patient is responsible to pay — and annual maximum benefit limits of typically $1,200 or $1,500. With rising dental costs, these deductibles and limits may not be adequate.
There are also different types of plans, such as direct reimbursement or managed care. Under the former your employer is actually paying the claims from company funds — the insurance company acts as an administrator. The latter type packages services with select providers: the out-of-pocket costs are lower but your choices of provider are usually limited to those in their network — which on a new plan may not be the family dentist you’ve seen for years.
If you have a private plan, you should look carefully at your total costs, including premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, and compare those with projected costs without it. If you’re on an employer-paid plan, then be sure you understand it fully, especially any limits or restrictions. Also, speak with your dentist’s business staff to see how you can get the most out of the plan — dental offices work every day with insurance companies and know how to maximize your benefits.
Remember too that regular office visits for cleanings and checkups — as well as your own daily hygiene practices — are the best way to reduce long-term dental costs. Taking care of your teeth with preventive care will help ensure you’re not dipping into your own wallet — with or without insurance — more than you should.
If you would like more information on managing dental costs, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Insurance 101.”
At The Smile Shack, we care deeply about your health. And, we care about ours too! So we would like to share with you seven things we would never do to our teeth and gums.
1. Use our teeth to open a bottle cap, tear a piece of fabric, or for any other non-dental use. Teeth have many functions, including biting and chewing food, smiling, aiding in proper speech, and much more. But, be careful! Using them for things other than dental uses can result in injury that can be difficult and expensive to repair!
2. Ignore any kind of dental pain or swelling. When your body is trying to tell you something, it is important to listen! While dental pain or swelling does sometimes temporarily go away, that doesn’t mean the underlying problem has resolved. Treating problems early on is always your best solution.
3. Think that bleeding gums are “normal.” If blood were coming out of the ear (or any other body part) most people would be concerned, but for some reason many people think that bleeding gums are normal. They aren’t! Usually gums that bleed, are sensitive, or swollen means there is an underlying infection which could lead to tooth loss. Remember, coming in for regular checkups means early detection of any gum or tooth problems, which lead to a less expensive outcome in the long run.
4. Eat something and then go to bed without brushing. The flow of saliva decreases during sleep, and yucky morning breath isn’t the only problem it causes! Nighttime is the right time for sugars, bacteria and food debris to wreak havoc on your pearly whites. Always make sure to give your mouth a thorough brushing before beddy-bye.
5. Play any kind of sport without a mouthguard. An estimated 40% of dental injuries occur while playing sports, most of them involving the front teeth. Practically all of these can be prevented by simply wearing a mouthguard. It’s an inexpensive and easy procedure (as compared to the over $500 million spent each year repairing dental sports injuries!)
6. Make health care decisions based solely on insurance coverage. While dental insurance is great for offsetting some of your healthcare costs, your coverage is not always a great barometer for which treatment is right for you. At The Smile Shack, we work with you to maximize your particular coverage, help you make comfortable financial arrangements, as well as provide you with the best treatment available! It is our goal to perform high-quality dentistry for an affordable fee.
7. Go a day without smiling!! Smiling benefits your mood, boosts your immune system, makers you look younger, relieves stress, and is contagious. No wonder we would never go a day without it!!