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What kind of dental insurance is right for you?
You may not have thought much about dental insurance and, let’s be honest, not many people look forward to a visit to the dentist’s chair. It can be expensive, and occasionally a real pain. Without insurance, a new crown can cost over $1,400. In 2016, it was reported that almost one third of Australians were avoiding visits to the dentist due to the cost.
Dental care insurance isn’t complicated, but there are a few things you need to consider before you call your insurer to take out dental cover. Do you have a family? A partner? Are you single? Retired? Everyone’s needs will be different.
Singles with good dental health might only want to cover their basic, half-yearly checkups. Families, or those facing the prospect of more complex procedures like braces, dentures or fillings, might want to take out more a comprehensive dental care insurance plan.
There are two main types of dental insurance you can choose from.
- General dental – includes cleaning, removal of plaque, fluoride treatment, x-rays, most preventative dental work and smaller fillings.
The basics, in other words. Many of the procedures listed as general count as preventative measures, so they could be covered as extras in your existing plan.
- Major dental – includes cover for orthodontics/braces, wisdom teeth removal, crowns, bridges and cover for dentures.
Major dental is for the more involved treatments. If you have a family, are active, or play sport, you may need this kind of treatment, and major dental insurance could be a good idea.
Premium or standard, every dental insurance plan will offer something different. Also, every major and most general dental insurance plans have a waiting .
How long will I have to wait for treatment after taking out a dental insurance plan?
To avoid people taking out insurance only when they need to pay for large procedures, waiting periods apply. Waiting to be eligible for insurance can be inconvenient, but it does help keep premiums down. Because waiting periods exist, it can be a smart move to prepare in advance.
Even if you or your family’s teeth are in perfect health, it might be prudent to make sure your plan is in place before you realise you need it.
General dental insurance covers procedures like cleaning, checkups and the odd filling. For most general dental insurance policies, waiting periods are around 2-6 months.
Major dental insurance usually requires a waiting period of up to 12 months, and this includes Orthodontic treatment. This is why it’s important to be prepared for treatment you may need in the future.
What kinds of cover do I need?
Knowing the type of dental work that may be required in the future will help you mitigate the inconvenience of having to wait, because you don’t have the right type of cover. Understanding how intensive the treatment you need will be, should give you an idea of how long you have to wait before you’re covered by an insurance plan.
Periodontic work is the least intensive and involves diagnosing, preventing and treating disease in teeth. It therefore has the shortest waiting time. Endodontic work is medium-intensive and centres around treating the dental pulp, and the root canal. Orthodontic work is the most intensive and has the longest waiting time. Orthodontic work is concerned with the structure of the jaw and the way teeth fit together.
Your dental health is very important, so be sure to check with your insurer about the cover you’re afforded now, and into the future.
What should I look for in a dental insurance plan?
If you’re thinking about purchasing dental cover, it’s important to assess your needs. Are per person limits important to you? Do you prefer a percentage benefit rather than a set benefit? Under ‘extras’ some, but not all, insurance plans will include preventative dental care such as cleaning, plaque removal, checkups, and smaller fillings.
Annual limits also apply to dental insurance plans. An annual limit is the maximum amount you’re allowed to claim on your insurance plan in that year. If you have an annual limit of $1,000 on your dental insurance, then all dental expenses beyond that must be covered by you.
Benefit limits can also apply to individual procedures. For example, if a check-up costs $100, your insurer might have a payment limit of $70 for that procedure, which means you’ll have to contribute the remaining $30 yourself. The $70 paid by the insurer will come off your total annual limit. For example, $1,000 minus $70 will leave you with $930 remaining.
Remember, the out-of-pocket expenses for every procedure vary between insurance providers.
Can you be covered completely?
Most funds offer full cover for preventative treatments meaning you’ll be covered to 100% of the fee charged. It’s called ‘No Gaps’ cover. ‘No Gaps’ insurance will cover the entire cost for fluoride treatment, x-rays, and cleaning.
Larger procedures such as fillings, crowns, and bridges and orthodontic work will still need to be partly paid by you. Having the right plan could save you a significant outlay in the event that you need it.
Whether you’re thinking about low-income dental insurance, or a premium dental insurance plan for you or your family, iSelect have got you covered.
Compare insurance plans today with iSelect.
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