The Un-Changing Dental Insurance Model
As we begin a new year, we reflect on the all changes that have happened in the past decade and the one thing that has remained a constant is dental insurance. Dental insurance annual maximums have remained at an average of $1500 since the 1970s when dental insurance was first created. If dental insurance accounted for increases in cost of living and inflation, annual maximum benefits should be at least $10,000! A crown in the 1970s was much less than a crown in 2020 so the $1500 maximum was stretched a long way! Now, it can barely cover an exam, 2 cleanings, any xrays and 1 filling! If you need a root canal and crown, you won’t have anything left over and more than likely will pay over your estimated share of cost.
I can’t help but point out the obvious and it was eloquently phrased by my colleague, Dr. Alan Mead, DDS: “dental insurance is like a gift card from a control freak.” You receive money every year to use for your dental needs but it is controlled how you can use it and sometimes, when you can use it. Not everything is covered or certain procedures are covered. For instance, tooth colored fillings on back molars are downgraded to the coverage for silver fillings. Who does those anymore? This is outdated and needs to change as the new research shows there are stronger and far much safer filling materials.
With that said, continually waiting until dental benefits are available at the beginning of the following year will only delay needed treatment and could result in costlier treatment