Dental insurance options in Atlanta

You've heard the same lecture from your favorite Atlanta dentist for years about undergoing regular...

You've heard the same lecture from your favorite Atlanta dentist for years about undergoing regular dental checkups. However, when you are between jobs or working for an employer that does not offer dental insurance, you can still obtain insurance. Thus, you do not have to skip dental cleanings, regular checkups and other dental treatments.

The best part about dental plans is that they're more akin to dental benefits than insurance. You have three basic options. Each plan has its rewards and risks, so choose carefully. With each plan, you pay the insurer directly. So, unlike other plans such as the health insurance your employer offers, it isn't directly taken from your paycheck.

Private dental plans

This type of insurance consists of group and individual insurance. Both are available when you can't obtain coverage through your employer, you're self-employed or you're currently not working. If you can, you want to go with group insurance. It's typically cheaper because it's a plan that includes more than a single person.

Insurance companies, businesses and organizations offer group insurance. For example, an organization you may belong to, such as a business association, can offer this type of plan. Some businesses, such as membership clubs, also offer group dental plans.

If group insurance isn't an option for you, try out an individual dental plan. This type of plan generally costs more than the group plan. More people are included in the group plan, which brings the cost down. The cost of an individual plan depends on the deductible. A high the deductible lowers your monthly, semi-annual or annual payment.

Here are the risks associated with both dental plans. Each plan may restrict coverage for certain pre-existing conditions. Also, the plan may not cover some preventative dental options such as fluoride treatments. It's important to talk with the insurer about what it does and does not cover before making your decision.

Different types of plans within private insurance plans

You have three options: indemnity dental coverage, dental health maintenance organization and preferred provider organization. The traditional indemnity insurance plan is the best option. It offers the most flexibility regarding choosing your dentist and is a fee-for-service plan. Unfortunately, you may have to search for a provider who offers such a plan directly to you. There are a limited number of providers, if any, who offer it to the public. You can ask your dentist for more information.

Preferred provider organization, or PPO, is a managed care plan. With this plan, many dentists sign up with the PPO for a negotiated, reduced rate. Dental health maintenance organization, or DHMO, pays the dentist by the number of patients. It's less expensive than a PPO plan; however, it's one of those plans that includes basic dental and preventative care.

Dental discount plans

A dental discount plan isn't actual insurance. However, it is an option to consider if you can't afford private insurance. The plan requires a fee to participate. This fee gives you access to a list of dentists who offer you dental services at a reduced rate. You must pay the fee, which is less than traditional insurance, once a year. Some discount companies do offer monthly rates.

The best part about the plan is you generally pay less for preventative services such as X-rays, cleanings and checkups. It also may cover extras that traditional dental plans do not. For example, it can offer reduced rates on cosmetic dentistry services such as veneers. However, the discounts do not extend to other procedures such as orthodontia or root canals.

You can use the discount plan with your private insurance to save additional money. Two major drawbacks exist with this type of plan. Your dentist may not accept discount plans. Thus, you may have to go to a different dentist in the Atlanta area. Another risk is that the plan could offer you a list of services that you don't use or need. So, you could end up paying more than what the discount is worth.

For more information about dental insurance options, you may want to ask your dentist, as the plan you choose may not include your favorite dentist on its list. Your dentist may also not carry a particular provider. For example, if you choose a dental discount plan, your dentist may not accept the plan. This results in having to pay out-of-pocket for some dental services without any discount. However, regardless of what option you chose, there is a dental plan available in Atlanta for you.

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