INSURANCE - YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
At Alabama Smile Design, we do accept certain insurance but you DO NOT have to have dental insurance to be treated here. We will file dental insurance as a courtesy to our patients. Dental insurance plans have a large amount of variability across the spectrum of plans. In addition, many insurance companies provide several different dental insurance plans and many of them change regularly. It is up to you to know your policy and coverage. Co-payments will be due at the time services are rendered.
We want to address a few issues or questions from patients that we hear everyday:
WHAT IS DENTAL INSURANCE?
Dental insurance is NOT truly insurance but a form of prepayment for dental work. To put it simply…it is a discount plan. If you do not have insurance, or even if you do but have a lengthy waiting period on major work, take a look at our membership plan. It is designed to provide you discounts on services for a low annual fee.
WHAT ARE COMMON CHARACTERISTICS OF DENTAL INSURANCE?
Unlike health insurance, dental insurance plans have a yearly maximum and once reached, all remaining expenses will be out of pocket costs for the patient. Unfortunately, this yearly maximum hasn’t changed since the 70’s. Can you think of anything that costs the same as it did in 1970? Increases in operating costs, supplies and labor have driven up the cost of dental care. Dental insurance companies have failed to keep up with these rising costs. Wait periods for new insurance can be anywhere from six months to one year for major dental work. Preventative care is typically covered at the start of the plan but for patients needing immediate, extensive dental work, dental insurance may be of very little help.
WHY INSURANCE SHOULD NOT DICTATE TREATMENT:
An injured tooth often presents an unexpected expense but it is important to keep perspective and ensure your primary focus remains the danger it places on your body and health, not your wallet. The mouth is the hub for the whole body. Dental complications are degenerative meaning that they get worse the longer you put off treatment. Failing to address an ailment do to an insurance waiting period, or maxed out benefits, stresses the body and almost always increases the financial cost of treatment as the severity of the damage escalates. Remember, dentistry isn’t expensive, neglect is. Let’s say you have a broken tooth. What may originally be a quick same day dental restoration can easily turn into an infection, decay, or loss of the tooth entirely. A lost tooth results in replacement costs, and if those are ignored, can spiral into bigger issues. It’s easy for simple issues to turn into more serious situations when treatment is neglected.
WHAT DOES IN NETWORK MEAN?
A dentist that enters into an agreement with an insurance company to accept discounted fees could be considered in-network. When in network, the dentist agrees to discount their fees. Dental insurance is nice to have but it should NOT dictate your dental care. There are a number of options available to make the cost of dental treatment fit any budget. Our main goal is to help you achieve optimal oral and overall health.