Chew on This: Dental Coverage Gives Protection Within Limits


Chew on This: Dental Coverage Gives Protection Within Limits
  1. Chew on This: Dental Coverage Gives Protection Within Limits
    hamodia.com
    Don’t forget about your teeth when you start considering 2018 insurance needs later this fall. The annual sign-up window for many types of health insurance also is a good time… Read more » The post Chew on This: Dental Coverage Gives Protection Within Limits appeared first on Hamodia. In related news: Wal-Mart Plans 1-Stop Health-Coverage Shopping Free-Dental-Care Program Expanded to Include 15-Year-Olds UPS to End Health Coverage for Some Spouses Wal-Mart to End…
    Technology
(Brittany Hosea-Small/The Herald And News via AP)

(AP) - Don’t forget about your teeth when you start considering 2018 insurance needs later this fall.

The annual sign-up window for many types of health insurance also is a good time to think about dental coverage. Many employers offer a chance to sign up for it during their open enrollment period for benefits. Dental protection also can be purchased with private Medicare Advantage coverage or through the Affordable Care Act’s public marketplaces.

There’s a big market for it. About 74 million Americans have no dental coverage, according to the National Association of Dental Plans. That’s around 23 percent of the population, or more than double the percentage that lacks health insurance.

Here are some things to consider when shopping for dental plans.

WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE LACK DENTAL COVERAGE?

The main reason is limits on government health programs.

Medicare provides health coverage for people who turn 65, but the federal program offers no dental option unless you buy it through privately-run Medicare Advantage plans. Likewise, dental coverage is spotty for adults in Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the poor.

Shoppers also cannot use tax credits to help pay for most adult dental coverage sold on the ACA’s marketplaces or exchanges.

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT FROM MY COVERAGE?

You won’t have to pay for preventive care like teeth cleanings. Your insurer also will grab the bill for the occasional X-ray. Coverage tends to shrink from there.

Basic work like cavity fillings might come with co-insurance, which requires you to pay a certain percentage of the bill.

That co-insurance may be as high as 50 percent for major work like crowns or dentures. Many plans also pay only $1,500 or less annually for care per person. After that, the customer has to pick up the rest of the cost.

Coverage for a kid’s braces also may be limited to a maximum lifetime payment of $1,000 per person, depending on the plan.

WHY ARE THERE LIMITS?

Dental coverage is designed to encourage people to get regular care that keeps tooth decay and other costly problems from developing.

“The idea is you pay more out of pocket if you let things go south,” said Evelyn Ireland, executive director of the National Association of Dental Plans.

If the insurer covered more, then premiums would rise, and that might dissuade people from getting regular dental checkups, Ireland said.

The dental plans association estimates that more than 90 percent of patients do not hit their plan’s annual maximum.

However, research suggests that some people start avoiding care before they reach their plan’s limits due to the…

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