I opened my inbox and right near the top was a frantic letter from Lisa, who’s facing an emergency dental situation with a $15,000 price tag on it. She is desperate for options that will let her keep her teeth while not plunging her into debt.
Another letter from the Madison family related that their finances are so tight, they cannot afford the luxury of regular dental care—not even routine x-rays and cleaning. That letter ended, “Is there a dental plan for families in our situation? Please answer soon before our teeth fall out!”
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While I am not a dentist, I know that dental care is not a luxury. It is essential to the good health of every family member. And the best way for Lisa and the Madison Family to avoid big dental bills is to practice regular preventive care. Even then, routine hygiene and x-rays should be seen as absolutely mandatory.
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As for Lisa, she’s in a tough situation. I’m not confident that dental insurance—if by some miracle she could get it now—would be that helpful. The problem is that typically you must wait six months to a year before certain procedures are covered. Her condition could be excluded completely as preexisting. Then there’s a maximum annual benefit of $1,000 to $1,500. And the annual premium on most individual dental plans? Typically half of the annual benefit. I’m not sure if any portion of her $15,000 dilemma would be considered cosmetic, but I hope not because most dental insurance does not cover cosmetic procedures.
I am excited because I have good news for Lisa and the Madison family—something I hope all of my readers will also consider seriously: Dental Savings Plans. These plans are not insurance, don’t work like insurance and do not carry the downside of most dental insurance.
Dental Savings Plans are membership plans, similar to the way I am a member of Costco, where I pay an annual fee, which gives me full privileges at Costco warehouse clubs for the year. I just show my card to enjoy highly discounted prices on the things I need. That’s how a Dental Savings Plan works. You sign up with a plan your dentist accepts, pay your membership fee, get your card, and enjoy highly discounted dental services and procedures.
The cost of a Dental Savings Plan varies but basically, an individual pays around $120 per year, and families pay around $170 per year—yes, for the entire family.
Most insurance companies are now offering these dental savings plans. There are many to choose from, and they are all listed in one place at DentalPlans.com. If your dentist doesn’t participate, you could ask him or her to sign up or find a dentist in your area that does (thousands do!). When you use a dentist in your plan, you get a discount of up to 60 percent, depending on the plan.
Dental Savings Plans have no annual maximums, do not exclude preexisting conditions, have no monthly premiums (membership fees are paid once each year) and there are no waiting periods.
I know you have questions about Dental Savings Plans. All the answers are at the DentalPlans website. You can look up your dentist, find dentists in your area and the Dental Savings Plans they accept. It’s easy to determine which plan might be best for you. If you have any additional questions, you can give them a call at (844) 239-7927.
More good news: I’ve worked out a special deal for our EC family. When you use the promo code DPL10, you will get 10 percent off the membership fee plus 2 months free on any Dental Savings Plan through DentalPlans. I don’t think that offer will last forever, but for now make sure you use the code to get the most you can, assuming of course that a Dental Savings Plan is right for you.
First published: 3-10-16; Updated 5-18-19