Dec 28 2016

Saving hundreds with a new dental discount plan

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In the past, our family had a dental discount plan through Careington. We dropped it a few years ago when our provider no longer took it. Since then, we’ve switched to a new dentist and for awhile did the in-office plan. Their plan was a flat fee for adult ($440/year!) and another fee for a child ($210) for the semi-annual cleaning, exams, and yearly x-rays. Any work needed beyond that would be subject to a 20% discount.

It was expensive. Better than nothing, but still steep.

Rather than renew for another year, I priced out various dental insurance and dental discount plans to see my options and actual costs.

Using the same dental codes used in our earlier visits, I saw some serious savings:

  • Adult exam and cleaning: $74, or $148 for two visits in a year. Add x-ray for $42. Total annual basic preventative = $190/adult (I’m saving $250 per adult over the “discount” thing offered by my dentist!)
  • Child exam and cleaning: $122/year. X-ray is $34. Saving $54/year per child.
  • A simple filling needed by my child last year was $232 with the 20% off rate. The same code would be $125 with the Delta plan. (Savings of $107)
  • I had a crown done last year. My total cost for crown plus build-up was $1272. I received 7% off for paying via check in full, rather than credit card. It would have been $930 with Delta, or a savings of $342. I’m going to need a few more crowns eventually; it’s only a matter of time.
  • Adding up the work we’ve needed in the past 2 years plus basic preventative care, and if I had the Delta plan I would have saved more than $1500 and that includes factoring in the Delta annual fee. YUCK. Kicking myself really, really hard! Bruises are happening. Oh, well.

I settled on the Delta Dental Patient Direct, purchased via DentalPlans.com. I called and spoke with a surprisingly helpful representative, and he checked actual costs I can expect from my specific dentist. We looked at the Aetna discount plan first, and then I had him check similar costs via Delta. Delta was cheaper so I went with that option.

This plan costs $172.96 for the year for my family with coupon code. (Here is a 15% off coupon code for you, aff. link). It includes vision and prescription benefits as well.

For my purposes, a discount plan is more cost-effective than a traditional dental insurance plan when I factor in the difference in my yearly outlay and benefits. Dental insurance would run at least $100/m, some plans have 18-month wait requirements for certain work (gee, thanks), will only pay a percentage of the total cost anyway, and have fairly low annual max payouts. Didn’t make sense, cost-wise.

What about you? How do you save on dental care?


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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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