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Are vision and dental insurance plans worth it?
Old 07-25-2016, 10:45 PM   #1
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Are vision and dental insurance plans worth it?

DH and I will RE later his year. We already have post-ER medical coverage lined up, but aren't sure that vision and dental coverage are worth it. Seems like by the time you pay the premiums, you could have funded the insurance benefit. Most of the policies I've seen have a limited benefit so just not sure paying for this coverage is worth it. Anyone see it differently?
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Old 07-25-2016, 11:07 PM   #2
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We don't have dental insurance. It's not worth it since we just need a cleaning, checkup and xray once every 6-8 months.

Our old dentist when we worked and had insurance, would not budge on the price now that we would be paying immediately without insurance.
I decided to check the price he was charging us (~$500 for both of us each visit), so I phoned and explained I had no insurance and wanted to know the price, shocker to us it was $300 for cleaning, exam, x-rays for both of us.

Saving us $200 over the old dentist each visit. And we are happy with the quality of the new one (might even be better).
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Old 07-25-2016, 11:26 PM   #3
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DH and I will RE later his year. We already have post-ER medical coverage lined up, but aren't sure that vision and dental coverage are worth it.
When this has been discussed in the past, some chimed in saying that their dental/vision insurance which was subsidized by their employer was a great deal. But if I recall correctly, most who paid the full premium themselves dropped it.

For myself, I appreciated it when my employer provided dental insurance that was quite comprehensive. But now retired, I can't see the value in the policies I reviewed so we just pay as we go.
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Old 07-26-2016, 06:04 AM   #4
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No vision, no dental. Most providers will give you a cash, AARP or equivalent discount, IF you ask.
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Old 07-26-2016, 06:36 AM   #5
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We had vision care through my employer, but it was in the form of "discounts" at the big retail chains, where they had an add-on for every feature of your glasses (scratch-proof coating, progressive lenses, extra charge for progressive lenses in narrow frames, etc.) Still very expensive after the discounts, but I was usually trying to use up the Flexible Spending Account at the end of the year. Now we just go to Costco.

DH has dental and I don't. I hated that they excluded anything but cleaning for the first year even though I'd been continuously insured and getting regular dental care previously. Since most max out at $1,500 to $2,000 per year regardless of what work you have done, it wasn't worth it to me.
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Old 07-26-2016, 08:14 AM   #6
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I spoke to my dentist who is a past president of the Calif Dental Society. He said the biggest problem is that they will only pay 50% on crowns. A good policy costs over $1000 a year. A crown costs between $1000-1200, and the policy will only pay $600.
Therefore, with insurance it will cost you $1600, without a policy, 1200.
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Old 07-26-2016, 08:20 AM   #7
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ugh, I think I recracked my back left molar stressing at w*rK last week - dentist appt. Thursday
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Old 07-26-2016, 08:24 AM   #8
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ugh, I think I recracked my back left molar stressing at w*rK last week - dentist appt. Thursday


Do you have a bite guard to use at night? I had a rash of broken and cracked dental work till I got one, and very few issues since.
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Old 07-26-2016, 08:32 AM   #9
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Do you have a bite guard to use at night? I had a rash of broken and cracked dental work till I got one, and very few issues since.
yes I do but this is grinding at w*rK - I need one for my jerb!


the office is a dangerous place
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Old 07-26-2016, 08:50 AM   #10
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When this has been discussed in the past, some chimed in saying that their dental/vision insurance which was subsidized by their employer was a great deal. But if I recall correctly, most who paid the full premium themselves dropped it.

For myself, I appreciated it when my employer provided dental insurance that was quite comprehensive. But now retired, I can't see the value in the policies I reviewed so we just pay as we go.
I think this sums it up. If subsidized, it is a good deal, if not, it is not worth the premiums. Ask for a cash discount instead.
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Old 07-26-2016, 08:57 AM   #11
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I think this sums it up. If subsidized, it is a good deal, if not, it is not worth the premiums. Ask for a cash discount instead.
dental/vision are basically "free" at w*rk - For retiree pay all, I'm not sure the premium is worth the benefit unless you get your teeth knocked out or something
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Old 07-26-2016, 08:59 AM   #12
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To the OP, I would advise going for a thorough dental exam and then quickly going ahead with any major work that your dentist thinks would be advisable while you're still covered by your employer's insurance. As others have said, private dental insurance is generally not a good value. I'd say the best way to prepare for dental- and vision-care expenses in retirement is to open an HSA and fund it as you can, using those funds as needed for whatever healthcare expenses you choose. And definitely negotiate with your dentist and eye doctor to get the lowest "uninsured, cash upfront" rates.
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Old 07-26-2016, 08:59 AM   #13
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dental/vision are basically "free" at w*rk - For retiree pay all, I'm not sure the premium is worth the benefit unless you get your teeth knocked out or something
Agree. My retiree dental is subsidized. I pay less than half the premium.
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Old 07-26-2016, 09:08 AM   #14
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Was between jobs for a while and looked at private plans from Aetna. When I pulled out the old spreadsheet, for the 3 of us as a family, it was just about break-even for out-of-pocket with no insurance vs. using this insurance. This was for me, my wife, and my daughter. But just as I was about to turn it on, I went back to work, so never got to test the theory. All 3 of us have our own dentists and we're all adamant about not changing to a different one. :-)
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Old 07-26-2016, 10:00 AM   #15
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Not retired yet, but I've been looking into it. We'll get our glasses at Costco, and if we need to, we'll go to the local dental college if we need something other than a cleaning.
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Old 07-26-2016, 10:12 AM   #16
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If my ex employer didn't pay for dental and vision I wouldn't have them. Even with vision I have often gotten better deals with the discounts offered by the chain vision centers.
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Old 07-26-2016, 10:19 AM   #17
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Not retired yet, but I've been looking into it. We'll get our glasses at Costco, and if we need to, we'll go to the local dental college if we need something other than a cleaning.
OK, I agree the dental insurance is not worth it if it is not subsidized. Our dental is running out this month from my pre-retirement extended benefit. However, we are continuing our Vision plan at $12/mo for the two of us under an ala cart Cobra option. I am not certain why this is so cheap, but it covers by far the majority of frames and lens options for one pair per year.

I have done the math, and used Costco in the past. However, I can't buy the quality of lens at Costco or even come close to price. A digital Seiko lens, with a Crizal coating, progressive, with transitions (darkening) on a fashion frame runs us about $100 with the insurance and "upgrades". The same pair of glasses at Lens Crafters was quoted to me for over $700. Costco only offers a lower end progressive lens that has a very tight central range (last time I inquired). The better lens have a nice wide sweet spot allowing clear vision to each side.

We are covered by Davis Vision Premium Vision Plan. This is a Cobra from my employers plan. Both the dental and medical options were actually higher in price than buying on the market, so I believe this is not subsidized, just a good deal. I wonder if Davis Vision can be purchased on the open market or direct. It does require you to use in plan services, but our Ophthalmologist is in plan.
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Old 07-26-2016, 10:25 AM   #18
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DH retires next month and is eligible for 18 month vision and dental through Cobra for him and me. As he's in the process of getting an implant, the numbers work for him. I have no dental issues and will self insure. Vision doesn't make sense for either of us.
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Old 07-26-2016, 12:32 PM   #19
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As I have gotten older I seem to need at least one crown a year . I have federal met life dental insurance and have been very happy with it .
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Old 07-26-2016, 01:02 PM   #20
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DW and I signed up for a dental discount plan - $125 for the year - Our dental bill shows the full amount and the "discount" which is always more than what we pay for the discount plan. No haggling for a discount in office just called a few years back to see if they accepted the discount plan. Works for us.
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