Full coverage dental insurance is a bit of a misnomer, since it implies that all of your dental care costs will be paid by the insurance company. However, even with the most expensive insurance policy, you will still have to shoulder some portion of your dental expenses. Full coverage insurance will cover all normal dental care procedures, including preventive and diagnostic care, as well as most minor procedures such as fillings and root canals. Preventive care procedures such as dental X-rays and prophylactic cleanings are usually covered 100% while the insurance company will only cover a portion of the cost of minor procedures.
Full coverage dental insurance will only pay a small portion of the cost of major dental care such as surgery, dentures and other procedures that are necessary because of injury or disease. However, coverage will at least reduce the amount of dental expenses for these procedures that you have to pay out-of-pocket. Also unlikely to be covered are cosmetic dental procedures such as teeth whitening and orthodontic work. However, the procedures that are covered differ depending on which dental plan provider you are using.
There are two types of full coverage dental insurance – traditional and managed care. Under the traditional type of dental plan, you pay monthly premiums and the insurer covers all or part of your dental expenses, no matter which dentist you use. Under managed care dental insurance, however, you are limited to using a dentist who is a member of the provider’s network, since they have agreed to provide their services to covered patients for a discount. A third type, the preferred provider option, allows you to use any dentist, but encourages you to use dentists who are part of the insurer’s network, as you will pay less out-of-pocket for dental procedures.
When selecting a full coverage dental insurance policy, the things to look out for are the procedures that are covered under the policy and the amount of your annual maximum. Make sure that your dental insurance policy covers all the procedures that you will need to maintain your dental health. If you need a lot of care, then you should look for a policy with a higher annual maximum than the average $1,000 to $1,500 set by most dental insurance providers. You should also consider other plan limitations such as deductibles, co-pays and restrictions regarding the number of procedures that can be performed in a year.
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