Shopping for individual dental insurance
comes with so many options and new terms. If you have always gotten your dental
plan through your employer or spouse, you probably don't know all of the ins and
outs of dental insurance. Amongst all of your choices, you may have seen policies
for dental indemnity insurance. But what exactly does that mean? 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:
1. It is "fee for service" plan
With most individual dental insurance, you pay your monthly premiums, adhere to some guidelines - like picking from an approved list of dentists - and only have to 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'll have to pay for the services and procedures you get upfront, then get reimbursed by your insurance company later. You may not get all of the money, though, but most of the 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.
2. You reimbursements won't come right away
Typically, with this type of dental plan, you have to meet your deductible before your insurance starts to reimburse you for anything. That's why it's so important to have individual dental insurance that doesn’t come with a massive deductible.
3. You will get to take advantage of a UCR fee schedule
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 doesn't come with these lists, you'll still get to take advantage of the discounts. Known in the insurance industry as a "UCR fee schedule", you will be able to get preventative, basic, and even serious dental care at lower prices. That way, you won't have to spend as much money upfront.
4. Everything you need may not be covered
You will have 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.