My husband and I are finally breaking down and going to see the dentist. Neither of us has been since just before we were married (and still on our parents’ employers’ plans). So I’ve been trying to figure out what to do. We have our own family plan for health insurance (that I deduct on the taxes since we have it through my home business), but it doesn’t cover dental care. So we started looking into dental insurance.
At first, it seemed rather inexpensive. But then I saw deductibles, co-pays and limitations. And there are waiting periods. So I called around town to some different dentists. Turns out that most dentists in my town offer a 10% discount if you pay in full at the time of service. And the services aren’t that expensive. An entire well check for my teeth (including bitewing x-rays and a thorough cleaning) only costs $70. Take the 10% discount, and it’s only $63. Of course, if I have cavities, the costs go up.
But the 10% discount applies to wisdom tooth extraction as well, and I know I’m going to need that. I got some price quotes on tooth extraction, and then added up all of the conceivable costs (including cavity fillings — although I’ve never had one). Turns out that I can get all of those services for the cost of dental insurance for one year. But if I add in the co-pays I’ll have, it turns out the dental insurance costs more.
Of course, there are some unexpected things that might come up, but my auto insurance covers surgery because of an accident, and I have other coverages that apply, making dental insurance for anything major superfluous. Plus, there are health savings accounts (HSAs) for those sorts of things (they can be used for dental and vision as well as other types of health expenses). And I’m seriously considering one. Health savings accounts are tax advantaged, and, since I am young and healthy, work more in my favor.
At any rate, whether or not I go the HSA route, I’m paying cash for dental care. It costs less for me — both in the short term and over the long haul.