Dentistry can be relatively expensive for some patients. One solution to affording good dental care is dental insurance. In this report, Dr. Blake Perkins of Dental Sleep Medicine in Vancouver, Washington explains how dental insurance works and why it may not be what everyone thinks it will be.
Dr. Perkins notes that dental insurance is a relatively new development compared to medical insurance. Dental insurance really began in the 1960s. The average policy in those days paid about $1,000 and was a fairly simple plan. When you look at today’s dental insurance, you will see that the payout has changed very little: probably $1,000, perhaps as much as $1,500. However today’s plans have more exclusions, more fee schedules, and more general complexity.
Dental insurance is quite a bit different from medical insurance. Dr. Perkins says he has conversations every day about dental insurance, and they are never good conversations. Most people understand how medical insurance works. There’s usually a deductible, and when that is met, the medical insurance will pay a percentage of the cost. The premiums for medical insurance are much higher than for dental insurance.
Dental insurance, on the other hand, is less expensive but covers less. Dr. Perkins says that most people don’t really see dental insurance as a real value because the cost of dentistry is much less than the cost of medicine.
Dr. Perkins says that the best way for someone to understand dental insurance is to realize that it is not there to pay for all dental care. That is the biggest misunderstanding that many people have. “I don’t want to do that if my insurance doesn’t cover it.” This, says Dr. Perkins, is a big mistake.
People understand why the health of their body is important and won’t ignore a serious health problem because it is not insured. But for many people, the body and the teeth don’t seem to be connected. Years ago when health care was developing, dentistry split off from medical care. Dr. Perkins considers this unfortunate, as dental care can be very important to general health. But Dr. Perkins says that things are changing and that a more holistic approach is developing.
Dr. Perkins opines that it would be a good thing if dental plans went away entirely and if health insurance plans covered dental care as well as medical care.
J. Blake Perkins, DDS, is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine. He is the owner of Today's Family Dentistry of Vancouver, Washington, and he is an expert in the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). He spoke with Sleep Better TV, providing online sleep breathing disorder video news content. Sleep Better TV is a featured network of Sequence Media Group.