Dental insurance plans offer financial contributions towards dental treatment in return for a small monthly payment. Dental insurance is becoming increasingly popular, as the cost of dental treatment is rising steadily and people are struggling to afford the cost of treatment for their dental health problems. Some policies cover NHS dental treatment, while others cover private dental care.
With pressure mounting on NHS dentists and waiting lists often lengthy, more people are choosing to go privately, but this can be extremely expensive. Having dental insurance can ensure you have access to the best possible care without it costing the earth.
Is it worthwhile having dental insurance?
Many people can benefit from having both NHS and private dental insurance. NHS care, although considerably cheaper than private treatment, can still contribute to a significant annual expenditure so if you are prone to oral health problems or like to have your teeth checked regularly , dental insurance may save you large amounts of money in the long-run. Some policies also offer free preventive treatments such as screening; these kinds of treatments drastically reduce the likelihood of suffering from a serious dental health condition as they allow dentists to monitor oral health and identify any early warning signs of serious conditions.
Private dental insurance covers a range of private treatments and could be hugely beneficial for those who feel that NHS dental care does not meet their expectations.
What are the benefits of dental insurance?
There are several benefits of having a dental insurance policy. Dental insurance eradicates the possibility of having to pay huge lump sums for dental treatment. The cost of dental treatment is increasing all the time and dental health problems can be a source of considerable expenditure, especially if you consider the treatment you may need over the course of 5 or 10 years. Below is a list of the benefits of some dental insurance plans:
- Free NHS dental care: NHS dental insurance covers the cost of all treatments carried out on the NHS.
- Emergency dental cover: most policies offer protection in the event of a traumatic injury, which causes damage to the mouth. Usually policies will cover treatment in a private clinic in the event of an emergency.
- Worldwide cover: many policies offer cover for injuries that occur whilst the client is abroad.
- Oral cancer cover: some policies offer financial help for people who are diagnosed with mouth cancer (restrictions apply so it is best to check the details of the policy carefully before you try and claim for any treatment relating to mouth cancer).
- Payouts for overnight hospital stays: many policies pay out for overnight stays in hospital when treatment for dental problems is involved. As a rough guide, patients can expect around £60 per night; however, there may be restrictions so again it is best to check the details of your policy before you make a claim.
What does dental insurance cover?
Dental insurance plans differ according to the provider and the monthly premium you pay. Some plans are designed to cover NHS treatment only, while others cover private treatment. Usually, most essential treatments are covered, as well as basic services including:
- Routine check-ups
- Hygiene treatment
- Emergency dental treatments
- Treatment needed as a result of trauma or injury
- Mouth cancer care
- Worldwide cover for dental emergencies and subsequent treatments (some restrictions apply)
What is not covered by dental insurance?
There are a number of exclusions commonly made in dental insurance plans; these include:
- Any pre-arranged treatments before the plan is taken out (patients usually have to register a certain period of time before their policy takes effect).
- Cancer care in cases where the illness has already been diagnosed or is diagnosed within a pre-determined period of time after the policy has been taken out (each company decides its own time period so it is best to check with your provider if you want to claim for this type of treatment).
- Cosmetic treatments: these are often regarded as a luxury and are not essential for good oral health. Examples of these treatments include tooth whitening, dental veneers and some orthodontic treatments.
- Non-essential treatments: treatments that are not required to improve oral health are usually not covered by insurance companies.
- Sports injuries: sports injuries are usually not covered in cases where the individual could have prevented the injury by wearing a protective mouth guard (some plans will cover treatment for these injuries if the treatment is carried out on the NHS).
Isn’t dental insurance part of health insurance?
Although some of the more comprehensive health insurance plans do cover dental treatment, many don’t. You need to check the details of your policy before you make a claim for dental treatment and if you don’t have dental cover included in your health insurance, you may wish to consider a plan that incorporates both general and dental health insurance.
How much does dental insurance cost?
Many people have dental insurance provided as a perk of their job. For those that don’t, there is a huge range of plans and policies on offer nowadays; like health insurance, dental insurance is an increasingly competitive market and consequently there are some very attractive and affordable offers around. The amount you pay will of course depend on how comprehensive your plan is; budget insurance is now available from only a few pounds each month, but be aware that treatments you may need might not be covered. More comprehensive plans may cost up to £40 per month, but this should include everything and may also include insurance for other members of your family.
How do I make a claim?
There are a few different ways to make a claim and the way you claim for treatment will usually depend on the company you are with. In some cases, insurance companies deal directly with the dentist or hospital, meaning the patient doesn’t have to worry about filling in any forms or contacting their provider. In some cases, patients pay for the treatment and then claim the money back by filling in a claim form and sending it to their insurance provider; sometimes, it can take a while for claims to be processed, so this may be worth considering when choosing your plan.
Should I consider private dental insurance?
If you feel that you are not getting what you want or deserve from your NHS dentist or you are struggling to find an NHS dentist in your area, you may wish to consider getting private dental insurance. The NHS is under increasing amounts of pressure, as resources and staff become increasingly stretched in the light of recent budget cuts aimed to cut debt; consequently, patients are having to wait for treatment and may not be satisfied with the standards of care they are receiving.
Although the majority of patients are very happy with the care they receive on the NHS, there are benefits to going private; one of the most significant benefits is that patients usually receive treatment much sooner than on the NHS, as there are rarely waiting lists. Private care may also involve treatments or medications that are not widely available on the NHS and sometimes the facilities may be a lot more modern and state-of-the-art. Ultimately, the choice of taking out a dental insurance policy is down to the individual.