Discount Dental Cards

Written by Sarah Provost
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If you're still paying full price for dental care, you may want to look into discount dental cards. These programs have sprung up to fill the gap as health insurance benefits get cut back. Dental plans are often the first to go, so a growing demand for an alternative has produced a plethora of plans for you to choose from.

How Discount Dental Cards Work

Discount dental cards are a good example of a win-win situation. Here's how it works. The plan charges you an annual fee, which is much lower than the cost of an insurance premium. The plan administrator negotiates with dental care providers, offering them exclusive referrals of their block of clients in return for discounted services. Providers get increased business, you get services discounted anywhere from 10 to 50 percent, and the administrating company makes its profit from your fees.

These plans are not the same as insurance. Insurance involves indemnity. That is, you pay a high premium. You have a set deductible, which you must pay out of pocket. Once that deductible is met, the insurance company is responsible for paying 80 percent of any further services you may need. They are gambling that you won't need so much that you outstrip the premium you paid. Like any good gambler, they try to minimize their risks, so you might find it hard to get dental insurance if you're a professional hockey player. They also have to approve any services that exceed their usual allowance.

Since discount plans don't pay any part of your expenses, they don't limit the number of appointments you can have in a year. If, for instance, your child has a slight overbite that you want corrected, an insurance company might not feel that it was necessary and deny coverage. With a discount dental plan, that decision is entirely up to you, since you will be paying for it, at the discounted price.

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