The typical cost of an individual dental insurance policy is around $450 a year with dental implant coverage. For a family, the cost is around $650, annually. Dental savings plans are typically priced at less than dental insurance costs. Dental-insured individuals must meet their plan deductible before dental insurance begins to cover their dental care. Annual deductibles can vary from $45 to $100 per covered individual, depending on the dental insurance policy.

Dental Savings Plans do not have deductibles. Members pay a monthly or annual membership fee, allowing them to pay discounted rates for dental implants at participating dental providers at the time services are rendered. Moreover, the majority of dental insurance plans cap the amount of reimbursement that they pay to an annual maximum, usually $1,000 to $1,500 per year. The insured individual is responsible for any costs incurred after that. This presents a challenge for people who need a significant amount of dental work done. That is why, some insurers such as Cigna Dental offer members discounted rates, as available, even after the annual cap is met. Besides the long-term saving with dental plans, some individuals with dental insurance policies complain about the time-consuming process of getting reimbursed for their dental care. Their issues include having to manage written claims procedures, and exclusions on pre-existing conditions in addition to waiting periods for basic and major dental procedures.

Dental insurance plans will frequently refuse to cover for dental implants related procedures or impose long waiting periods. For example, many dental insurance policies have exclusions on pre-existing conditions and may require an 8 to 18-month waiting period before paying for major dental treatment. Conversely, discount dental plans are free of these limitations and activate within 3 business days, allowing plan members to join and start saving on their dental care as quickly as possible. Additionally, select discount dental plans offer significant savings on dental specialties, such as dental implants, LANAP gum laser treatment, and teeth whitening, while dental insurance policies rarely cover these procedures.

Dental savings plans do not reimburse members, instead, members pay a discounted rate at the dentist. There are no pre-existing condition exclusions or waiting periods to get care.

What is the best Dental Insurance or Dental Discount Plans?

When compared against each other, it’s easy to conclude that dental savings plans are the best buy. But it’s important to consider your (and your family’s needs, if you are purchasing a family plan) carefully first.

A good place to start is at your dentist, assuming you have one that you would prefer to continue seeing. Find out what type of plans your dentist accepts and recommends.

How do Dental Savings Plans work?

When you join a Dental Savings Plan you get reduced rates on all dental procedures from our dentists. You pay the reduced rate directly to the dentist, at the time of receiving care.

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How much can I save on dental implant care with a Dental Savings Plan?

Savings are typically a percentage of the dentist’s usual fee for a procedure. The percentage varies from 12-18 depending on the Plan you choose and the procedure you need. If you know you need specific treatments, you can search for a Plan that offers substantial savings on those procedures. Look at a Plan’s fee schedule to see how much you can expect to save with that plan.

Dental Discount plan

Over the past decade, one in four Americans put off seeing a dentist for necessary treatment because they couldn’t afford it.

Dental fees rose by 20% during that time, while insurers grew stingy with coverage. And while the rollout of the Affordable Care Act has made it technically easier to shop for dental insurance, it doesn’t mean a state marketplace plan is any better than elsewhere.

So is dental insurance even worth the trouble? Can it actually save you money on dental care? Or does it make more financial sense to join one of the dental discount plans that have become so popular in recent years? (A dental discount plan is like a membership program – you pay an annual fee to join and you get access to discounted services at participating dentists).

We compared five dental insurance and dental discount plans to see how much they’d save us in a handful of year-long hypothetical scenarios.

How dental insurance vs. dental discount plans work

It’s difficult to make a universal recommendation because of how greatly costs can differ depending on where you live. Also, the state’s insurance exchange will offer different adult dental plans (or even none at all, in which case you can shop in the open market). Still, there are few general findings on dental insurance vs dental discount plans.

If you have healthy teeth and don’t expect any serious trouble like having dental implants, a basic dental insurance policy will likely suffice, because the small savings you might see from a good discount plan probably isn’t worth the extra time it will take you to shop for one. On the other hand, if you know you’re going to be spending some time in the dentist’s chair soon, and especially if you require an expensive dental procedure immediately, the right discount dental plan could save you hundreds of dollars a year. (Here’s how to avoid buying scam insurance .)

We also found the cheapest dental discount plans aren’t of much value, meaning you need to compare specific procedure discounts in order to find the plan that best suits your needs.

Be prepared to do some research to uncover a plan’s exclusions and limitations before you buy, or you might be surprised by unexpected expenses later.