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Old 01-26-2010, 06:53 AM   #21
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We have had dental insurance since I started working 30 yrs ago. With 5 people in the house it really pays for itself. When you figure that you see your dentist more then your doctor and a crown cost $1200-1500, 50% covered by most plans. The numbers start to add up quickly.

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Old 01-26-2010, 11:37 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by In-control View Post
We have had dental insurance since I started working 30 yrs ago. With 5 people in the house it really pays for itself.
In this case, I can see it. But if this is group employer coverage, there are three separate "subsidy" factors in play that make it cost-effective:

(1) Employer subsidy. Many employers pay for part of the coverage as their base benefit.

(2) Subsidy from people who rarely go to the dentist to people who do. Those who have employer group plans but rarely see a dentist help keep overall costs down and more affordable than those who see the dentist regularly. In an individually purchased dental plan, the pool of households that rarely use the benefit are very small, thus costs are much higher -- those who are "dentaphobes" self-select out of the pool of individual dental insurance policyholders.

(3) Subsidy from smaller families to larger families. In many employer group plans, there is a single "employee plus family" rate regardless of whether you have one child covered or six. This obviously makes it a much better deal for larger families.

Someone looking to buy individual health insurance outside of an employer plan probably has none of these in play to make dental insurance cost-effective. No one helps with part of the premium, individual plans have "adverse selection" because they are only bought by people who *use* the coverage, and large families will likely have to pay according to a "per child" schedule which makes coverage for a family of six much more costly than coverage for a family of three.

"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)
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Old 01-26-2010, 12:55 PM   #23
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I knew I would be dropping my dental insurance as I retired at the first of the year 2010. We had (family) all the dental work we could possibly do the last couple years I worked, as well as eye exams.
I started talking with my dentist toward the end of 2009 about my future being uncovered. The dentist didn't want to lose a long time customer/patient so told me I could continue to come for needed service and would work with us on prices and payment options as needed.
I think I will also do price comparisons with other dentist.
Oh, another option I intend to look at is the dental school. A good friend of mine always goes to the dental schools to get his work done. He has insurance but likes going there and tells me he gets about twice the amount of dental work for his money. You are assigned to a dentist/student and stay with this person all the way through the work, I think each year. The student is graded and overseen all the way too.
My good friend is very happy with the setup and tells me I should do it,
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Old 01-26-2010, 12:56 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
I only use insurance to protect against catastrophic costs, never to save money.
Same here. Even in the worst years our dental expenses don't come close to what our deductible is on our regular medical insurance.

Also, teeth is one place where preventative care taking care of your teeth really saves money. Unlike the rest of the body where all sorts of really expensive horrible things can happen to the rest of your body no matter what you do.

In prep for retirement if you are covered for dental by your company, you should get all the things you can done to your teeth - old filings replaced, etc. Then, as long as you do your regular checkups and cleanings (not that expensive) you might be able to avoid spending much on your teeth for a very long time.

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Old 01-26-2010, 05:32 PM   #25
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Dental insurance was never a benefit for a career fed like me.
I paid out of pocket for all sorts of fun stuff - 4 wisdom teeth extracted, advanced periodontal care, lots of replacement fillings, several crowns for partially cracked teeth, and quarterly preventative cleanings.
When LH turned 50, I signed him up for AARP as a joke. They sent me the usual insurance junk mail. I read up on their dental plan, did the math and jumped right on their Delta Dental plan at age 46.
I added dh2b later on. He is a fed also and had no dental insurance options at the time.
We are coming out ahead with the 4 cleanings per year for me, 2 cleanings per year for dh2b, and the partial tooth cracking problems I continue to have.
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney
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Old 01-30-2010, 07:50 AM   #26
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My dental plan through work is better than no dental insurance, unless one has no teeth or perfect teeth. The premiums are paid with pre-tax money, in effect reducing the premium by our 41% combined federal, state, and Medicate tax rate.

The problem is that BC/BS is considered our "primary" insurance, so the dental office must first bill BC/BS; wait for a BC/BS statement refusing to cover the billed procedure; then bill the dental insurer.

The dental office doesn't like to wait months to be paid, so they charge me their office rates up front, and tell me to go to my dental insurer to be "reimbursed" for the difference.

Whereas, the dental insurer says "No, don't do that! We don't reimburse you, because you paid the dentist and they have the $$, not us! Your dental office is supposed to charge you the negotiated rate up front."

Last week, I had routine preventive care, and the dentist looked at my mouth for 30 seconds because I complained of pain in one area. My dental co-pay should have been zero, but the office charged me $44 which they said was the BC/BS co-pay for preventive visit plus brief oral exam. I spent an extra 10 minutes negotiating my way out of it. Fortunately I had my insurer's 2010 co-pay list, and the dental office was able to contact the insurer to verify that I was paid up. So I was released with zero up-front charge, but a "If we have to, we'll still bill you" attitude. I'm sure that over the next 2 months I'll get 3 different statements that will need to be rectified.

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Old 01-30-2010, 08:00 AM   #27
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I ER'd about a year and a half ago, lost dental through work, wife needed a root canal and crown, plus normal cleanings. Now she just went on medicare, she has Aetna medicare advantage,plus a $10/month dental ryder. All cleanings, fillings and the normal work is covered pretty well. If need a root canal it is at a reduced rate, I checked with endodonists office, the bill would be 700 as opposed to 1100, not to bad. Of course you need to go to a network dentist, she had to change dentists.
So if you are on medicare look into a dental ryder to your medical plan.
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