• filter:
  • Text Only
  • Search this Topic »
Voting History
rated:
So I just wanted to share my recent experience with financing some dental work for my wife.
Some of you may remember a couple years ago I had another thread dealing with dental insurance and whether it is cost effective, etc.
I think we can all probably agree that insurance generally pays for itself *if* you actually need to use it.

In any event, we are in a situation right now where I wasn't able to get dental insurance (through work) even if I had wanted it - so all that aside I was in a situation where she needed dental work and I was going to have to pay for it.  The question was - how much was I going to have to pay.

TL:DR - I saved about 40% on the required treatments.

There were a few things to take into account with how we saved the money here - but the biggest piece was the Dental Savings Plan, which I will discuss in a moment, but first the lead-up:

Wife cracked a tooth and we have no dental coverage.  First thing we wanted was an exam to see exactly what was wrong and what it would cost.  Looked to Groupon and found a place that was going to do the exam/xray/cleaning for about $60.  When we called them it turned out that we could just have xray/exams for $20 straight up so we opted for that.

At first - we thought this place was a total scam since they gave my wife a treatment plan for almost $10K that included like 4-5 root canals.  It had been a few years since my wife had been to the dentist, but nothing even close to this was on the radar and we could hardly believe both their recommendations and the prices.

I called up another dentist telling them we were looking for a second opinion and they said that they would do a free exam.  Who doesn't like free?  So we went in.
My wife felt that this place was much less "scammy", her basic perception was that they talked "to" her about the issues, not "at" her.

Unfortunately, they reinforced the first place's opinion (which we knew they would) regarding her broken tooth - but the treatment plan they gave was nowhere near as aggressive as the first place.
In short, they said that some of what the first place stated was needed *might* be needed, but it wasn't a definite.

So, not only was getting a second option worth it for the sheer amount of work, but even if it was a worst case scenario, the cost at the second place would have probably been close to 30-40% less.
It is worth noting that both places were going to give me about a 20% "discount" for no insurance - but the first place wanted to charge me ~$100 to get their proprietary "membership" to get this discount.

So now we were faced with a definite bill of around $2,500 worth of dental work and the possibility of another $2,500-3,000 more if it was determined she needed some additional root canal/crowns.

I did some googling and also called around to verify that the quoted costs were relatively standard.  There was some variation at different offices I called but more or less this is what you could expect to pay without insurance.

I looked at the possibility of getting insurance and quickly found that pretty much every dental insurance plan has a mandatory waiting period for restorative work such as this.  In most cases it is 12 months.  This really couldn't wait (wife was in pain), so I had to look at alternatives, which let me to look at dental savings plans, and google basically led me to DentalPlans.com

Ok - so this is where I will get accused of being a shill for the aforementioned company.  I've been around FW for a while so hopefully what little cred I have will at least defer those statements.
I'm just going to say that I have been very impressed with my whole experience with this company so far and they are going to end up saving me hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

I'm sure there are some other dental saving plan marketplaces, but in all honesty it was hard for me to find many others - especially those that carry such a wide array of plans.  I spoke with multiple reps on the phone and they all were very knowledgeable and helped me find the best plan for the type of work my wife needed done.  They actually took the time to take my dental codes from the treatment plan and run it against various plan options at actual dentist locations in my area.  Calling and speaking was a definite must because the plan I went with was not one I would have considered based on the websites top 4 recommendations for me.

In the end I bought a "family plan" for about $150.  An individual plan costs about $115, and a family plan costs about  $50 more.  They also charge a $20 processing fee.  They had some promo going on (for Veteran's day I think) so the whole thing ended up around $150.  I won't mention which plan I got - because it seems that the best plan for you is going to be regional.  It is worth the time to do a couple of what-if scenarios - to find out which dentist/plan combination is going to be the best.

There was actually one other plan that would have gotten me even cheaper work (maybe another 10-15%) at another dentist.  However we hadn't seen that dentist and they were not very responsive, plus it was only that particular dentist where the other plan would have been the best option.  Overall, the plan we went with seemed the most flexible.  Interestingly enough DentalPlans.com told me that I could actually switch the plan we purchased to another at any time and only pay the difference in plans (which there really wasn't one).  As I said - I was impressed at multiple levels with them.

By simply having this plan, I went back to our second dentist and the treatment plan was reduced from $2,400 (that is with the 20% discount) to $1450.
That is a $700 net savings right there.  If she needs the additional work I stand to save another $1,000-2,000.

There are definitely ways to reduce dental fees more or altogether:
- Take better care of your teeth
- Have dental insurance
- Find a dentist who takes cash for a substantial discount
- Go to a free clinic (if eligible) or a dental school for the work.
- Don't get your teeth taken care of and live in pain and risk

In our case, I had exhausted all the other options and there was really no other option to make sure my wife got the treatment she needed in a timely manner.
So, all that being said my investigation and discovery of these dental savings plan show a direct money savings that I might never have considered before.

I'm sort of disappointed at the whole dental establishment though.  These plans are accepted at many dentists and I'm 100% sure that the dental offices are aware of these plans and the savings they can provide to the customer.  Yet, when a customer comes to them without insurance they don't direct the customer to these plans as an option, they simply take their exorbitant prices and put some trivial "discount" on them as if they are doing you a favor.  If they really wanted to do you a favor and cared about your well being I think they should be advocating more for affordable care for the services provided.

But - this of course is what we should expect - not even a full doctor's office goes to this degree - or our government.  It is up to us to claw for any type of affordable care options.

Anyway - just thought I would share my experience for anyone currently in the need for dental services, or if you are in the future.  My experience may not be the same based on region, but I have to think that there is probably savings to be had in most areas.  Hopefully I can educate at least one person to similar savings.

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
You sign a waiver authorizing them to perform whatever emergency procedures they deem necessary at the time.

After an 'em... (more)

gatzdon (Nov. 17, 2016 @ 9:23a) |

+1 for this.

matthewk (Nov. 18, 2016 @ 10:55p) |

Awesome info. Wish I had known about this several years ago when wife and I paid out of pocket for a couple procedures d... (more)

Corndogg (Nov. 19, 2016 @ 3:00a) |

Staff Summary
Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

rated:
how did she crack the tooth

rated:
rufflesinc said:   how did she crack the tooth
  c'mon man - my posts are long enough as it is

rated:
I used a dental savings plan when I needed my wisdom teeth out and saved a ton. The savings on routine services wasn't enough to pay for itself, so I let it lapse.

The next year, my wife needed her wisdom teeth out. I thought maybe I could save a few bucks by not buying the plan and just asking the surgeon's office if they'd offer me a cash discount equal to the dental plan discount. They said no, acted like I was crazy. So, I bought the plan again and got that price. Dunno why it made any difference to the provider.

rated:
doveroftke said:   I used a dental savings plan when I needed my wisdom teeth out and saved a ton. The savings on routine services wasn't enough to pay for itself, so I let it lapse.

The next year, my wife needed her wisdom teeth out. I thought maybe I could save a few bucks by not buying the plan and just asking the surgeon's office if they'd offer me a cash discount equal to the dental plan discount. They said no, acted like I was crazy. So, I bought the plan again and got that price. Dunno why it made any difference to the provider.

  can confirm this. paid $900 for all 4 wisdom teeth removed (local anesthesia) which was cheap (NY) compared to my coworker's $1400 bill with dental insurance (only 2 wisdom teeth with general anesthesia). paid $100 for the discount plan. so about $1k for everything.

rated:
I bought a dental plan one year because I needed a crown. Paid almost $500 for the plan for just myself. I had about $2500 worth of work done. The plan saved me $75. It wasn't worth the trouble. All dentists in the area that are any good are considered 'out of network' on the dental plans, so I have to pay the difference in plan price, so I don't end up saving anything. Not having insurance doesn't get you any discounts on the prices because they know that if you go to someplace that takes insurance or gives discounts you'll be back in a year to get the work fixed anyway.
Maybe these plans are good in larger population areas, but not here.

rated:
How many root canals and crowns does one need for a broken tooth?  I had dental insurance when my son got braces, guess I'm glad I had it but still not sure it was worth it.

A few years ago a crown with post fell out of my head, it was about 15 years old which is the life expectancy of that kind of thing.  About $3500 later I got a dental implant which will literally be there in it's current form a hundred years after my body decays if I choose to be buried.  I don't think I'll be getting dental insurance, think I'll just take care of my teeth and hope for the best.

rated:
doveroftke said:   I used a dental savings plan when I needed my wisdom teeth out and saved a ton. The savings on routine services wasn't enough to pay for itself, so I let it lapse.

The next year, my wife needed her wisdom teeth out. I thought maybe I could save a few bucks by not buying the plan and just asking the surgeon's office if they'd offer me a cash discount equal to the dental plan discount. They said no, acted like I was crazy. So, I bought the plan again and got that price. Dunno why it made any difference to the provider.

  I've experienced a similar situation in which the dentist wanted to charge me more without insurance than with. I'm fairly sure the dentist ended up pocketing less through my insurance and co-pay than if I had just paid cash.

I guess the dentist's business model is to contract with these insurance companies to drive people to their business - somewhat like advertising. 

rated:
Our family has used no waiting period dental plans from dentalinsurance dot com before (humana\ delta) only covers 10-20% of major + most of diag\ xrays but on large bills still net payout + negotiated rates then cancel after treatments are finished. 11k cash price\ 4k out of pocket +~60 premium x 3 months

rated:
Seity said:   I bought a dental plan one year because I needed a crown. Paid almost $500 for the plan for just myself. I had about $2500 worth of work done. The plan saved me $75. It wasn't worth the trouble. All dentists in the area that are any good are considered 'out of network' on the dental plans, so I have to pay the difference in plan price, so I don't end up saving anything. Not having insurance doesn't get you any discounts on the prices because they know that if you go to someplace that takes insurance or gives discounts you'll be back in a year to get the work fixed anyway.
Maybe these plans are good in larger population areas, but not here.


I've no doubt that the savings will depend on the region.  Although I disagree with statements like "all dentists ... that are any good are considered 'out of network'."

I've probably been to about 6 dentists in my life mostly due to simply moving around.  While the biggest procedure I've had done is fillings, I've never had any real issues.  Unless a dentist has tons of lawsuits pending or a 1 star on yelp, I find it hard to believe that in most areas one can't find a competent dentist on just about *any* insurance/saving plan.  I suppose there could be exceptions, but comments like that make it sound like you will only use a particular dentist - or aren't doing enough research.  Truth is if you are looking to save money you can't be faithful to a particular provider - but that doesn't mean you can't have a good provider.

On another slant - one of the stories I relayed in my last thread was that even with standard dental insurance through my work I still had to pay about $190 for composite fillings.  When I did the research I found out that this is very standard on the majority of dental plans - they will only cover the cost of amalgam.  So, when I was last at the dentist they told me I have about 3 fillings that need to be replaced (from when I was young) and my cost after insurance was going to be ~$190/tooth.

With this savings plan, the cost for a composite filling is $104.

So in effect, I will pay *significantly less* using this "savings plan" then I would have with insurance.

Obviously every situation is specific.  The main take away is if you have to have any dental work that's approaching $500+, you should look into one of these plans even if you already have insurance!!

While it may cost you $100 for a plan, if you save that much then it's a break even and you have the plan to cover you for any additional work that might be needed.  Anything more than the $100 saved is for H&B!

rated:
I don't think private dental plans, are worth if, you need a lot of work. Only for basic Xrays, cleaning, if you need a filling, etc. I use a great dentist, and periodontist. If you use the one's in the plan, expect mediocre work. There are some exceptions, but how do you find out? I have looked at Delta Dental, IEEE Dental, etc. They cost too much for expensive work, and the fee is not worth it, in the long run.

rated:
I decided on the DeltaDental plan on dentalinsurance.com. Surprisingly it's cheaper than the plan offered by CoveredCA. (by about 50%) and offers 90% of the care.

rated:
Thanks for the write up. I looked at Health Insurance plans prior to the Federal requirements. You could get a high deductible plan for $120 a month. After .Gov a plan lowest was $320+-. I know they have higher coverage requirements etc... Back to some of your point, you hear about how if people paid cash for services and removed these third parties from the equation costs would be less. While that may be true in a real free marketplace (cross state line sales etc...) I think we are so far removed from what could be, that you walking in with cash makes little difference, as you are the outlier. I'm interested in future prospects of if the federal healthcare subsidy is removed will the plans offered by insurance companies revert back to what it once was, or will insurance companies realize that they have a customer base that is now used to "paying" at a certain level for service/insurance and there is no going back? We are in a mix from where the old standby private insurance- employer subsidized, which I believe is fading, thanks to expanded federal involvement/socialized medicine, the push for companies to reduce cost/increase profit.

rated:
JaxFL, The thread is about dental insurance.

rated:
I have GEHA dental plan for about $90 a month. Has a $25K limit per years.Its been worth it because purposely waited to have some work done. Root canal cost $1175, I paid $475 for example

rated:
zimmiezee said:   I have GEHA dental plan for about $90 a month. Has a $25K limit per years.Its been worth it because purposely waited to have some work done. Root canal cost $1175, I paid $475 for example
  
Again - each situation will vary by region, etc.  But for comparison my wife's root canal costs $1188 straight.  With our dental savings plan that went down to $561.
The plan cost us ~$140 (family).  that means her root canal cost $700 total (not counting the additional savings we get for other work).

By comparison, you are paying $90 a month, or almost $1000 more a year for your plan and only saving about $85 over the same procedure we had.

Again - I may not see the whole picture of your plan and services, but $90/month for insurance may not work out in the long run like you think it will compared to these plans.

Besides having no waiting periods, these savings plans also have no maximums as the are *not* insurance.

If this thread does anything it should be for you to question what you have and make sure it is really the most cost effective option.
Even if the answer isn't my suggestions...

rated:
I have a personal grudge against medical providers that somehow demand that a person pay more up front via cash/credit card than what the typical insurance/indemnity/savings/whatever plan pays.

My wife always accepts less when someone is paying up front out of pocket. With most plans, you have to file claims, follow up on claims, fax/mail case files, call, call again, complain to state dept of ins regulation, and so on (some ins companies are a dream to work with, but they are becoming less common).

Payment up front is almost always better. Why turn the screws on a patient just because you think you can?

That said, green for OP for posting another avenue that is relatively stress free.

rated:
Marvinomatic said:   I don't think private dental plans, are worth if, you need a lot of work. Only for basic Xrays, cleaning, if you need a filling, etc. I use a great dentist, and periodontist. If you use the one's in the plan, expect mediocre work. There are some exceptions, but how do you find out? I have looked at Delta Dental, IEEE Dental, etc. They cost too much for expensive work, and the fee is not worth it, in the long run.
  haha. I've had a different experience (using a DHMO).  major procedures (done by multiple dentists) were great (and cheap).  but cleanings were rushed.  oh and  of course there were lots of upsells, since my DHMO's co-pays were low (example: $140 for molar endo., $300 for molar crown, porcelain fused to high noble metal).  

rated:
jerosen said:   JaxFL, The thread is about dental insurance.
  
On the surface it is. The underlying is much more interesting.

rated:
gatzdon said:   I have a personal grudge against medical providers that somehow demand that a person pay more up front via cash/credit card than what the typical insurance/indemnity/savings/whatever plan pays.

My wife always accepts less when someone is paying up front out of pocket. With most plans, you have to file claims, follow up on claims, fax/mail case files, call, call again, complain to state dept of ins regulation, and so on (some ins companies are a dream to work with, but they are becoming less common).

Payment up front is almost always better. Why turn the screws on a patient just because you think you can?

That said, green for OP for posting another avenue that is relatively stress free.

  a cash patient might not know what a good price is for a procedure.  so it makes sense to go high, as he might be dumb enough to pay it.  

example: one time I got a deep cleaning, while I had a DHMO.  my co-pay was $40/quad ($160 total).  some idiot in front of me had the same procedure done but was a cash patient.  he paid $200/quad ($800 total).  how stupid would the dentist have been to educate Mr. Ignoramus? answer: very, very stupid.

rated:
I went to DentalPlans to check available insurance, and found something called "Alliance HealthCard Savings Card." Is it legitimate, or I should just ignore it?

rated:
Thanks for this - it's just what we need, so this has come at a good time.

Just FYI - if you google 'dental plans promo code' you should be able to get an additional discount. The family coverage I was just looking at was $199.95, but the code RMN15 took it down to 169.96.

rated:
BenH said:   ...............

So now we were faced with a definite bill of around $2,500 worth of dental work and the possibility of another $2,500-3,000 more if it was determined she needed some additional root canal/crowns.
.................

Did you have the root canal and crown done by General Dentists?  Or specialists?  If the latter, what specialties are they -- endodontics, etc.?

TIA  

rated:
xetefa said:   how stupid would the dentist have been to educate Mr. Ignoramus? answer: very, very stupid.
 


I would want to go to a provider who is ethical rather than one focused on extracting as much cash as possible from their unsuspecting patients.

rated:
xetefa said:   
  a cash patient might not know what a good price is for a procedure.  so it makes sense to go high, as he might be dumb enough to pay it.  

example: one time I got a deep cleaning, while I had a DHMO.  my co-pay was $40/quad ($160 total).  some idiot in front of me had the same procedure done but was a cash patient.  he paid $200/quad ($800 total).  how stupid would the dentist have been to educate Mr. Ignoramus? answer: very, very stupid.


That's part of the problem that people need to be aware of. Almost all Dentist offices these days are marketers out there to make money more than they are to treat you.
With the influx of cosmetic dentistry over the past 20 years these place have so many things to sell you that they make that #1 priority in many cases.

Part of the problem I see is that the "old-school" dentists who stick to the work tend to have outdated equipment and thus techniques to go along with them.
And, in all honesty, they don't necessarily have cheaper rates.

You can still find competent dentists at these marketing offices, but you need to be careful and go get second opinions when you feel something is not right.

rated:
DrXX said:   I went to DentalPlans to check available insurance, and found something called "Alliance HealthCard Savings Card." Is it legitimate, or I should just ignore it?
If you found it on DentalPlans, then I'm sure it is legitimate - though I can't speak to the specifics of the plan.

IMHO you shouldn't buy a savings plan until you actually need it and then you should confirm that an office takes the particular plan you are interested in and find out how much it will save you.
Some offices may refuse to give you an estimate without actually providing them a membership # in a plan - in that case, the folks at DentalPlan.com can give you estimates.
The important thing is to have the dental codes from the treatment plan the dentist gave you - once you have the codes for each procedure you should be able to quote them with different plans and offices.
 

rated:
peps2004 said:   Thanks for this - it's just what we need, so this has come at a good time.

Just FYI - if you google 'dental plans promo code' you should be able to get an additional discount. The family coverage I was just looking at was $199.95, but the code RMN15 took it down to 169.96.

Yes they seem to run promos a lot of the time.

Regarding cost - most of their individual plans are around $100-120.  Family plans run about $50 more.

The $199 plan that you mention was likely more than just a dental plan, they have some combo plans at closer to that price that offer things like prescription, vision, chiropractic, etc.

Make sure you only buy what you need - especially if you have that other coverage elsewhere.

rated:
confused200 said:   
Did you have the root canal and crown done by General Dentists?  Or specialists?  If the latter, what specialties are they -- endodontics, etc.?
TIA  


So she had it done on a bicuspid. At first they had quoted us (without insurance) a higher rate for the endodontist.
When we were discussing cost she said that because it was a bicuspid the dentist may be comfortable doing it, so they asked him, and he was.
So that was a straight up procedure with the dentist.

She may need another one done on a molar which, based on the previous interaction, I assume they will want the endodontist to do.
According to my particular plan, the negotiated rates with the endodontist are the same as for the dentist - so we shouldn't pay anymore.

What I need to find out is if the endodontist who does visits to this office takes that insurance as well - or if we need to find a different one in the area.

I'll update when I find this info out just as an example of how easy/hard dealing with a situation like this might be with these plans.
  

rated:
BenH said:   
xetefa said:   
  a cash patient might not know what a good price is for a procedure.  so it makes sense to go high, as he might be dumb enough to pay it.  

example: one time I got a deep cleaning, while I had a DHMO.  my co-pay was $40/quad ($160 total).  some idiot in front of me had the same procedure done but was a cash patient.  he paid $200/quad ($800 total).  how stupid would the dentist have been to educate Mr. Ignoramus? answer: very, very stupid.


That's part of the problem that people need to be aware of. Almost all Dentist offices these days are marketers out there to make money more than they are to treat you.
With the influx of cosmetic dentistry over the past 20 years these place have so many things to sell you that they make that #1 priority in many cases.

Part of the problem I see is that the "old-school" dentists who stick to the work tend to have outdated equipment and thus techniques to go along with them.
And, in all honesty, they don't necessarily have cheaper rates.

You can still find competent dentists at these marketing offices, but you need to be careful and go get second opinions when you feel something is not right.

  
I had a cavity miraculously disappear when I changed Dentists.  As it has been over 4 years, I'm sure it wasn't that the new Dentist 'missed' it.

Any medical provider that will rake you over the coals price wise, is also likely to recommend procedures that you don't need. 

This has been a real common issue with medicare fraud where the doctor recommends tests/procedures that the elderly patient doesn't know they don't need, but uses diagnostic codes that correspond to 'verbal' complaints from the patient.  The patient doesn't see the medical claims themselves, so never know that medicare was told they complained about it.

With the current medical/insurance billing practices, this can be very difficult for the patient to determine that medical fraud just happened.  Even more frustrating, all the insurance companies have to do to fight back is start putting the actual Procedure Codes and Diagnostic codes billed on the EOB.

rated:
dental plans dot com offers family plan for 200 including processing for my zip. Upon entering the promo code, site comes back with
Special promotions including but not limited to coupon codes are not available to California residents.

rated:
needdealsnow said:   dental plans dot com offers family plan for 200 including processing for my zip. Upon entering the promo code, site comes back with
Special promotions including but not limited to coupon codes are not available to California residents.

  
Talk to your congressman??  

And again, I strongly advise:
1) That you don't buy any plan based on the "sample savings" it shows on the website.  You should validate with any provider first.
2) Don't buy just based on the top 4 recommended plans on the site.  If I did that, I would not have gotten the best plan.
3) Don't buy the plan until you need to use it (assuming there are no waiting periods like there were with mine - maybe that is state dependent).  Also, until you are ready to use it (and have actual treatment codes) it is difficult to do #1 and #2 above.

I would definitely call them about *any* issue - they are really easy to work with over the phone.

rated:
BenH said:   
zimmiezee said:   I have GEHA dental plan for about $90 a month. Has a $25K limit per years.Its been worth it because purposely waited to have some work done. Root canal cost $1175, I paid $475 for example
  
Again - each situation will vary by region, etc.  But for comparison my wife's root canal costs $1188 straight.  With our dental savings plan that went down to $561.
The plan cost us ~$140 (family).  that means her root canal cost $700 total (not counting the additional savings we get for other work).

By comparison, you are paying $90 a month, or almost $1000 more a year for your plan and only saving about $85 over the same procedure we had.

This isn't an apples to apples comparison, however. He is talking about an employer based dental plan, which means that his $90/month is being deducted on a pre-tax basis, so he is not paying federal, state or FICA taxes on that premium. It also pays 100% of the preventative costs, which alone, depending on the number of people covered under the plan, can just about pay the plan premiums.

Your dental discount plan, on the other hand, is paid with after-tax dollars, and still has you paying out of pocket for all the preventative services.

In general, dental discount plans are an extreme YMMV. For many major services, they only provide a percentage discount as opposed to a preset payment, which is a major problem because, unlike dental insurance, these plans do not negotiate the base rate to which the discount is applied. Hence, a lot of dental plan purchasers discover that the discounts are illusory, as the providers apply these discounts to very high rates.
  

rated:
BenH said:   
Seity said:   I bought a dental plan one year because I needed a crown. Paid almost $500 for the plan for just myself. I had about $2500 worth of work done. The plan saved me $75. It wasn't worth the trouble. All dentists in the area that are any good are considered 'out of network' on the dental plans, so I have to pay the difference in plan price, so I don't end up saving anything. Not having insurance doesn't get you any discounts on the prices because they know that if you go to someplace that takes insurance or gives discounts you'll be back in a year to get the work fixed anyway.
Maybe these plans are good in larger population areas, but not here.


I've no doubt that the savings will depend on the region.  Although I disagree with statements like "all dentists ... that are any good are considered 'out of network'."

I've probably been to about 6 dentists in my life mostly due to simply moving around.  While the biggest procedure I've had done is fillings, I've never had any real issues.  Unless a dentist has tons of lawsuits pending or a 1 star on yelp, I find it hard to believe that in most areas one can't find a competent dentist on just about *any* insurance/saving plan.  I suppose there could be exceptions, but comments like that make it sound like you will only use a particular dentist - or aren't doing enough research.  Truth is if you are looking to save money you can't be faithful to a particular provider - but that doesn't mean you can't have a good provider.

On another slant - one of the stories I relayed in my last thread was that even with standard dental insurance through my work I still had to pay about $190 for composite fillings.  When I did the research I found out that this is very standard on the majority of dental plans - they will only cover the cost of amalgam.  So, when I was last at the dentist they told me I have about 3 fillings that need to be replaced (from when I was young) and my cost after insurance was going to be ~$190/tooth.

With this savings plan, the cost for a composite filling is $104.

So in effect, I will pay *significantly less* using this "savings plan" then I would have with insurance.

Obviously every situation is specific.  The main take away is if you have to have any dental work that's approaching $500+, you should look into one of these plans even if you already have insurance!!

While it may cost you $100 for a plan, if you save that much then it's a break even and you have the plan to cover you for any additional work that might be needed.  Anything more than the $100 saved is for H&B!
 

 Which is why I specified "in my area". There are 8 dentists that ever show up as 'in network' whenever I check the various dental plans available. 6 of them work out of the same chop shop which from my observation caters to people who can't afford dental work and just have their teeth pulled. The other two are not much better. I've asked other locals who've tried the dentists and I have personally been to the chop shop and since then had all the work fixed that they screwed up. I know there are good dentists that take insurance because I've also moved all over, but not in this small town.

rated:
geo123 said:   

This isn't an apples to apples comparison... 


It is rarely an apples to apples comparison in a discussion like this, there are too many factors - especially regional which factor in.
However, the differential between the two is pretty drastic that even if you take into account the issues you mention, it is still possible that my savings plan may have trumped the insurance.

Also different savings plans cater to different things - so if you want preventative maintenance then a different plan may give you those at a steeper discount.

The whole point to take away from the thread is to not assume that any one option is the best "catch all."

Chances are if you have insurance through work you are getting preventative maintenance for free - so there is really no need to look elsewhere for that.
However, if you need additional work it is possible that a savings plan may be beneficial - especially once you max out your insurance limits.
As I stated higher up - I know that this savings plan I now signed on for will be significantly less for composite fillings then I had to pay on my old work insurance plan.

So, a savings plan might make sense in some cases even if you do have insurance.
If you don't have insurance one, or a combination of savings plans might make sense.
Also, as I think was mentioned higher up - you can get insurance relatively cheap at a monthly cost and some of these have little to no waiting period for preventative services.
Because xrays/cleanings are usually pretty low cost anyway, the cost savings on these vs. straight cost or with a dental plan may only be $30-60, but if you are trying to save every penny then its of course worth a look.

It's like car insurance - don't assume that what you have is the best that's out there for the cost - revisit your plans at least once a year and based on need to see if you have the best cost combination for your current needs.
  

rated:
nansea said:   I found a great dentist in San Diego that is offering Free Implants! How? He has a school of Licensed Dentists that want to learn how to do implants. California requires Dentists be licensed in California-these dentists are from other states. To get around that issue the Dentist holds the school in Mexico in a state of the art facility. My boyfriend had all his teeth done (which included bone grafts, etc.) I had one implant. There is a small cost of the initial x-ray. But that is about it. Here is a link to his website which gives you more info. Consultations to see if you would be a good candidate are free. There are also lots of reviews by happy patients. People come from other states to see him. Hurst Dental https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiZ44my_K3QAhXGllQKHQP9Ab4QFgghMAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dentists-san-diego.com%2Ffree-implant-program.html&usg=AFQjCNHTudVj4y2Kb4Gt4tV-3reoa8I2ww&sig2=eMxBXsEPujfn7UH7vMwjqQ&bvm=bv.138493631,d.cGw
  
While I don't really appreciate the advertising - this post does bring up a good post regarding another option for low cost dental (and other medical care).
If it is cost effective for you to travel across a border, many countries have care at significantly lower costs.
If you can coincide a trip with some non-urgent care you need, then the savings can be significant.

You can google this to find more info - there have been many articles written on cost comparisons on many procedures in recent years.

rated:
BenH said:   As I stated higher up - I know that this savings plan I now signed on for will be significantly less for composite fillings then I had to pay on my old work insurance plan.
Many dental insurance carriers do only pay for amalgam (silver) fillings on your posterior (back) teeth, as amalgam is generally more durable than resin composite fillings and costs a little bit less. Having said that, the insurance negotiated cost differential between amalgam and resin composite is typically pretty small and is generally around $20-$30/filling.

Most if not all insurance companies pay for resin composite fillings on your anterior (front) teeth.
So, a savings plan might make sense in some cases even if you do have insurance.
A dental savings plan can make sense in certain very specific situations, but is generally a really bad deal in most situations, particularly long term. It can make sense if you have no dental insurance (or you've hit your coverage maximum), need a specific fairly expensive procedure and are willing to roll the dice with a brand new dentist. As you correctly mentioned above, you then have to call a bunch of dentists to see what they'd charge with or without a dental savings plan, so you can then decide whether a plan would make sense in that particular situation.

The problem with these dental plans, however, is that they almost never represent a viable long term solution to good dental care. Long term, you need to establish a relationship with a good dentist who gets to know you and your dental needs. You can't really do that with a dental savings plan, as receiving decent savings on the procedures will require you to jump from one dentist to another, as the best savings are equivalent to the "new customer specials," as the dental practices are trying to get you in the door. This jumping around from one dentist to another, however, is very likely to cause problems down the road, including work that isn't needed, dentists blaming each other for various issues, etc... Again, your approach is fine in a pinch and can be an acceptable short term (very short term) band-aid. Long term, however, constantly switching your healthcare providers is one of those penny wise but pound foolish ideas that you are very likely to learn to regret.

rated:
doveroftke said:   
xetefa said:   how stupid would the dentist have been to educate Mr. Ignoramus? answer: very, very stupid.

I would want to go to a provider who is ethical rather than one focused on extracting as much cash as possible from their unsuspecting patients.

How is that philosophy consistent with FW?  I'd want to go to a provider who not only offered multiple prices, but also conducted multiple scams.  That way, he could afford to give me (a sophisticated client) great deals.
 

rated:
bonomu said:   
doveroftke said:   
xetefa said:   how stupid would the dentist have been to educate Mr. Ignoramus? answer: very, very stupid.

I would want to go to a provider who is ethical rather than one focused on extracting as much cash as possible from their unsuspecting patients.

How is that philosophy consistent with FW?  I'd want to go to a provider who not only offered multiple prices, but also conducted multiple scams.  That way, he could afford to give me (a sophisticated client) great deals.

  
You sign a waiver authorizing them to perform whatever emergency procedures they deem necessary at the time.

After an 'emergency' procedure is performed, the evidence for whether or not it was needed is destroyed as part of the procedure.  No chance for second opinion.  No chance to dispute the costs.

Good luck with that approach though. 

rated:
BenH said:   I'm sort of disappointed at the whole dental establishment though.  These plans are accepted at many dentists and I'm 100% sure that the dental offices are aware of these plans and the savings they can provide to the customer.  Yet, when a customer comes to them without insurance they don't direct the customer to these plans as an option, they simply take their exorbitant prices and put some trivial "discount" on them as if they are doing you a favor.  If they really wanted to do you a favor and cared about your well being I think they should be advocating more for affordable care for the services provided.
  +1 for this.

Skipping 1 Messages...
rated:
Awesome info. Wish I had known about this several years ago when wife and I paid out of pocket for a couple procedures during a time we didn't have dental insurance.

  • Quick Reply:  Have something quick to contribute? Just reply below and you're done! hide Quick Reply
     
    Click here for full-featured reply.


Disclaimer: By providing links to other sites, FatWallet.com does not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products available at these sites, nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked site to FatWallet.com.

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

While FatWallet makes every effort to post correct information, offers are subject to change without notice.
Some exclusions may apply based upon merchant policies.
© 1999-2016