In my last column I explained the difference between medical “insurance” and dental “benefits.” Understanding this is critical. The next step is to find out just exactly what benefits you have. It is important for you, the policy holder, to obtain this information from the insurance carrier or the human resources department at your work.

A dental office can give you estimates of your benefits based on general information they have about similar policies, but it is your responsibility to understand the specifics of your plan. Since you are the policy holder, it is also easier for you to get the details.

Here is the information you need to know before you visit a new dentist.
– Are my benefits the same regardless of which dentist I choose? If not, what is the difference?
– What is the annual maximum benefit for my plan?
– Is the annual benefit based on a calendar year or some other interval?
– What are my remaining annual benefits?
– Do I have a deductible amount? How much is it for me? For my family?
– Do I have a waiting period before my benefits begin?
– Do I have a limit on how many times per year I can get my teeth cleaned? How is this calculated?
– How do I find out what amount will be covered for specific procedures?

When you are equipped with this information prior to your dental visit, everything will go smoother and there will be less potential for misunderstanding. Remember that your plan is not designed to cover all of your costs. It is more like getting a discount. So the more you know about your plan, the more you will know about your actual discount.

For Your Dental Health,
Dr S