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What is important when changing dental insurance policies?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Before you change, it’s important to read your current plan and the potential new plans very carefully -- as carefully as you would scrutinize your son’s or daughter’s (or sibling’s) new boyfriend or girlfriend. You want to have a good understanding of what is covered and what each plan’s limitations are. Also, if the plan uses the phrase usual, customary, and reasonable (UCR), make sure you know exactly what that means to that specific plan and how much that fee limit compares to the costs of dental visits and procedures in your area. If they’re way off, that’s a really important thing to know before you have to cover the difference. 

The American Dental Association also recommends that you ask a lot of questions either to a plan customer service representative or to your employer’s benefits department before changing your dental plan. Here are a few key questions:

- What routine dental care procedures will be covered and what percent of costs/charges will be paid for by the plan (for example, routine check-ups and twice-yearly cleanings)?

- What major procedures will be covered and what percent of costs/charges will be paid for by the plan (for example, wisdom teeth removal)?

- Which preventive services (like fluoride, sealants, and x-rays) are included in the plan and what percent of costs/charges will be paid for by the plan?

- Do you have any choice about which dentists you see?

- Will braces and other orthodontic treatments be covered and what percent of costs/charges will be paid for by the plan?

- What is your policy on covering pre-existing conditions?

Based on the answers to these questions and any other investigating you do, hopefully you will be able to find a plan that fits your needs as well as Cinderella’s glass slipper.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.