Shopping for individual dental insurance comes with so many options and unfamiliar terms. If you have always gotten your dental plan through your employer or spouse, you will not know all the ins and outs of dental insurance. Amongst all your choices, you may have seen policies for indemnity dental insurance. But what is indemnity dental insurance? And, is it the right choice for you?
Before you sign up for a policy, there are 4 things you need to know about dental indemnity insurance
With most dental insurance, you pay monthly premiums, follow a few guidelines - like picking from an approved list of dentists - and only pay a copay when you get treatment. With dental indemnity insurance things work a little bit differently.
Under this kind of dental plan, you can go to any dentist that you want. However, in exchange for this kind of freedom, you will have to pay for the services and procedures you get upfront, then get reimbursed by your insurance company later. You may not get all the money, though, but most good dental indemnity insurance plans will give you 50%-80% of your money back. Luckily, though, most policies will give you full reimbursement for routine services - like cleanings and x-rays.
Typically, with this type of dental plan, you must meet your deductible before your insurance starts to reimburse you for anything. That is why it is so important to have dental insurance that does not come with a massive deductible.
Most dentists will agree to give insurance companies a discount in exchange for putting them on their approved provider lists. Even though a dental indemnity insurance policy does not come with these lists, you will still get to take advantage of the discounts. Known in the insurance industry as a "Usual, Customary, and Reasonable (UCR)" fee schedule, you will be able to get preventative, basic, and even serious dental care at lower prices. That way, you will not have to spend as much money upfront.
As with all dental policies, you will need to read the fine print of your dental plan carefully. In many cases, dental indemnity insurance only covers basic services. If you need something more serious - like a root canal or oral surgery - you could be out of luck.