Four Tips to Help You Understand Your Dental Insurance


When it comes to insurance plans, things can get muddy once you get into the fine print, and dental is no different. Most people rely on their dentists to understand and handle it for them when the time comes. However, if you’re making a monthly contribution to your coverage, it’s important for you to be aware of all that it entails. Fortunately, your nearby dentist in Hutchinson has four tips to share that can help you better understand your insurance so that it won’t seem as overwhelming.

Four Tips to Better Understand Your Dental Insurance

Understanding how your dental insurance works will allow you to get the most out of the benefits. While it can be just as confusing, dental insurance is actually a totally separate entity from your medical coverage. Here are four tips to help you better comprehend it:

  1. Know What Type of Coverage You Have: This one is extremely important. Some insurance plans require the practice to be “in network,” meaning that coverage with that practice will depend on whether or not it is recognized by your insurance company. If this is the case, they will have a website where you can search for specific practices that are covered and make your selection.
  2. Check Your Deductible: Just like auto or home-owner’s insurance, your deductible is what you will be required to pay out of pocket throughout the coverage period. Some will be for individuals, and some will apply to anyone under the plan. Some plans don’t require deductibles for certain preventive dental services like cleaning or x-rays. It’s important to know what your plan requires so that you can prepare accordingly.
  3. Be Aware of Your Co-Pay Fee: Most people know that this is the fee that the patient is responsible to pay a portion of for their treatment. In many cases, the amount will be listed on the back of the insurance card. You need to know what exactly this fee will be so that you can prepare ahead of time. Additionally, the co-pay for some insurance plans does not count towards the deductible, so it’s good to know whether yours does or not.
  4. Find Out What Your Maximum Amount Is: If you’ve ever switched insurance plans for some reason, then you know not all of them are created equally. Your dental plan most likely involves an annual maximum requirement and a lifetime one:
    1. Annual – just like it sounds, this is the maximum amount your plan will contribute within the calendar year of coverage. One important note is that like the co-pay, many plans will not count preventive costs toward the annual maximum.
    2. Lifetime – this is the maximum amount your plan will ever pay toward specific oral treatments. TMJ disorder and orthodontic treatments are the most common services with lifetime maximums.

Regardless of what your dental insurance plan entails, you’ll want to be aware of the type of coverage you have, what you’ll be expected to pay, and how much the insurance company will be contributing. Although these tips are not an exhaustive list of everything there is to know, they are the most important and most commonly misinterpreted factors. If you have questions on how to find the information you need, your insurance company or dentist can help you figure out where to look.

About the Author

Dr. Grant D. Ringler leads the team of experts at his private practice along with the husband and wife team, Dr. Melissa C. Barnhart and Dr. Justin L. Barnhart. Together, they work diligently to ensure that each of their patients is armed with the knowledge and tools to keep their smiles as healthy as possible. With years of expertise, they have built their practice on trust and long-lasting relationships. Are you ready to schedule your next preventive check-up? You can request an appointment online, or call us at (620) 860-0309.