Dental Discount Plans
For some Americans who cannot or do not want to purchase dental insurance, there is a viable and increasingly popular alternative: dental discount plans. Under a dental discount plan, a purchaser pays an annual membership fee and a monthly fee, which range from $80 to $150 per year per member. The member can then visit the plan's network of dentists who have agreed to provide specified dental services at a reduced fee.
For example, under a large insurance company's dental discount plan, contracted dentists charge a plan participant $36 for a routine dental exam as compared to $69 for nonparticipants; under the same plan, a crown costs $535, rather than $981.
There are several advantages to purchasing a discount plan over a dental insurance plan. The costs of a discount plan are generally less than the monthly premiums of a dental insurance plan. Discount plans do not have annual limits because the contracted dentists have agreed on a set price for specified dental services. However, these plans are not regulated by a state department of insurance.
While dental insurance is currently a preferred method of dental service coverage for an individual or family, dental discount plans are quickly rising in popularity as preferred method of coverage.
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