This is going to be a much different post than I usually write for M$M. Before I go through some of the numbers to see if dental insurance is worth it, I’ve got to admit that something like health care costs are so wildly different from person to person that it’s probably hard to come to any kind of solid conclusion.
I’ll want to hear about your experiences with either having or not having dental insurance below, so get your stories ready!
First, here’s my most recent dental insurance experience:
I used to have dental insurance when I was a teacher. I honestly can’t remember how much it cost per month any more, and it was a total afterthought anyway. It was just one of those random line items that got taken out of my pay every two weeks.
Fast forward to when I quit my job to run M$M a year and a half ago, and I was shopping around for health care.
As a side note – in my experience so far…health care kinda sucks when you’re self-employed. Keep that in mind if you are looking to start your own business soon.
I opted to go without dental insurance last year, and then again this year. The biggest reason was that I didn’t want to spend the money. I’m embarrassed as hell to admit this to tens of thousands of people because it seems a little gross, but I didn’t even go to the dentist at all last year.
That’s just the reality of being self-employed in the beginning; you kinda give up essential things like that out of fear of running out of money. But don’t worry – I do brush twice a day, floss, and use mouthwash probably two or three times a day. Gotta stay married after all. 🙂
I went to the dentist yesterday…
First, I got a call from my dentist’s office. They wanted to know if I still had dental insurance, because they tried to contact my old insurance company and found out I wasn’t on a plan anymore. I said no and that I was going to pay out of pocket, which received a super awkward “Oh wow…well…OK. We’ll see you at 10:40 am“.
I got to the dentist’s office and checked in. Again, they asked if I had dental insurance. And again, I said I was paying out of pocket and got an awkward response.
Then I sat down in the chair, and the hygienist asked if I had dental insurance as she was going over my file. Same awkward answer and response.
The dentist came in and immediately found a crack in a filling I had done when I was about 12. He said I would need a crown (which sucks and I will get to that later), but then mentioned dental insurance.
Same. Freaking. Awkward. Interaction. Followed.
He left, and then the hygienist showed me pictures of the crack in my tooth so I would know they weren’t ripping me off or anything. After that, she cleaned my teeth and told me my teeth and gums were in great shape other than the crack.
Then she called in someone from the office to work out a payment plan with me for the crown because I didn’t have dental insurance. I guess they just assumed that because I’m 20-something and dress like…well…a blogger, that I wouldn’t be able to afford the procedure. I can’t really blame them for not seeing my latest income report. 😉
The crown would have cost $2,000, but since I told them I didn’t need a payment plan and would pay out of pocket in full, they dropped it to $850. They said the dentist was “doing me a favor”.
*shrug* I feel like I was doing him a favor, but I digress.
After that I got up from the chair and went to pay for the cleaning and schedule my next appointment. They asked if I had dental insurance again. AGAIN. So, the same weirdness followed.
That totals six different times of being asked about my lack of dental insurance in one visit. That seems excessive, but I’m going to rely on my dentist/hygienist/teeth enthusiast readers to explain this to me in the comment section. I’m legitimately curious if that is a weird amount of times to ask or not haha.
What are the numbers on dental insurance?
Here are some interesting stats I found about dental insurance:
- 205 million Americans have dental plans
- 114 million Americans don’t have dental plans
- The majority of people that have dental insurance are covered through AARP or a plan through their employer
- The average cost of a cleaning in the U.S. is $85
- Average premium prices for employee-only plans range from $223-$288 per year.
- Average premium prices for employee and family plans range from $445-$865 per year.
Like I mentioned at the top, how “worth it” a dental plan is depends on the condition of your teeth currently and how much work you think you’ll need during the year. If you take great care of your teeth, you may not necessarily come out ahead with a dental insurance plan.
But…there’s always the chance that something weird happens (like a cracked filling or your tooth breaks while you’re eating potato chips) that could make dental insurance a valuable tool.
From everything I can find in terms of research for this question; there really doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer. That’s why I’m so curious about what you all do!
Questions for you:
Do you have dental insurance, and is it affordable?
Do you feel like you’ve gotten value out of it?
(For people that are familiar with the dental field) Do dental practices prefer insured or uninsured patients?