Dental Plan: How to choose the best one for you in 2021
The trip to the dentist is almost unanimous: It is difficult to find someone who likes it. But what is a consensus is that a dental appointment, in addition to being necessary to prevent and treat diseases, is never cheap. No wonder, the dental plan is becoming more and more popular.
This is because, contrary to what many think, the dental plan is low cost, especially when compared to the price of private dental procedures and treatments, and still guarantees a complete and quality service.
So much so that nowadays there is a vast offer of differentiated and personalized plans. Therefore, in this article we will show you how to choose the best dental plan for you.
First, the most important
- The dental plan covers expenses with routine and emergency dental consultations and treatments performed by accredited professionals.
- In general, the dental plan does not cover aesthetic procedures or more complex treatments. But, for this, the market already offers specific dental plans.
- In this article, we will show you how the dental plan works, what are its advantages and what you should take into account to hire the most suitable one.
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Best dental plans: Recommendations from our team
When choosing which dental plan to hire, the ideal is to find the one that meets your needs and expectations, but without losing your budget too much. Knowing this, operators offer customized plans. Check below a selection of the most popular of the moment.
- The ideal dental plan for families
- The most versatile dental plan of all
- The ideal option for aesthetic treatments
Hiring Guide: Everything you need to know about the dental plan
Medical plans, especially health insurance, are common among. But what about the dental plan? This, although less popular, is increasingly attracting. This is what the Institute of Supplementary Health Studies (IESS) bulletin shows.
According to the new edition of the Beneficiary Accompaniment Note (NAB), between August 2018 and August 2019, there was a 5.7% increase in the total number of dental plan beneficiaries, corresponding to 1.3 million new contracts. ( 1 )
With that, the dental plan segment surpassed the mark of 25 million bonds, the highest number ever recorded and representing 12% of the population.
But, despite the growth of this type of service, the fact is that most people still have doubts about how the dental plan works and what the benefits are. And that is what we are going to deal with in this Hiring Guide.
How does the dental plan work?
If you care and take care of your health, you know that oral health also needs attention. After all, the problems that can occur, especially in the teeth, whether due to lack of hygiene or maintenance, besides being uncomfortable, can be expensive for your health and your pocket.
And that is what the dental plan is for: To help you reduce costs with expenses related to teeth care.
For this, the dental plan works like this: You enter into a contract with an agreement that provides for the coverage of expenses for a series of procedures and, for that, you pay a fee, either monthly or annually.
The dental plan is similar to the health plan. Upon payment of a monthly fee, the beneficiary is entitled to dental care through a network of accredited professionals.
So, in general, after an appointment or treatment with a dentist accredited to the plan, you will not need to pay anything else.
In other words, having a dental plan is a way of taking care of oral health more regularly, without over-compromising your budget.
For you to have a general notion, check below what are the main characteristics that usually define a dental plan, although there may be differences between one and the other:
- Payment of a pre-established fee
- Covers treatments and services set out in the contract
- The service is provided by dentists from an accredited network
It is worth noting that, today, there are several insurance companies that offer different types of dental plans, whether for families, children, companies or even plans that cover everything from basic treatments to the most complex ones.
What is the difference between the health plan and the dental plan?
Although they offer coverage for complementary services and procedures, in practice the dental plan is different from the health plan. The first major difference between these two types of health insurance is that the dental plan is much cheaper.
This is because, unlike the health plan, dental care is not sold by age group, although there are specific plans for children and adolescents, as we will see later in this article.
The fact is that, as dental prevention is considered extremely efficient, the use of the dental plan ends up being less used over the years.
That is, if you take care of your oral health early, with periodic visits to the dentist, it is understood that as you get older you will have fewer dental problems.
On the other hand, the opposite ends with the health plan. That is, the more advanced the age, the greater the risks that the person has health problems and needs to use the services included in the plan.
Still, the fact is that both are necessary if you want to prevent disease. For this reason, it is not uncommon to find companies that offer, in addition to the health plan, also the dental plan to their employees.
Did you know that the lack of proper and preventive dental treatments can cause complications that go far beyond a toothache?
The fact is that dental problems can develop into serious illnesses, respiratory problems and even diabetes. Therefore, hiring a dental plan ends up being a preventive measure that contributed to your health.
What procedures are covered by the dental plan?
As with the health plan, there are several dental plan options that differ, basically, by the type and amount of coverage included in the contract.
Therefore, before closing the contract for a dental plan, it is essential that you know in detail what services, procedures and treatments you can perform without having to pay an extra amount.
In addition, we recommend that, before you perform a certain service with the dentist of the accredited network, always check if the operator of your dental plan does indeed cover the treatment.
The fact is that some companies do not cover certain types of services, such as, for example, the maintenance of the dental appliance and tooth whitening.
Some dental plans, for example, only cover simpler procedures. Other plans may include more complex treatments.
Even so, the National Supplementary Health Agency (ANS) stipulates a minimum list of dental procedures that must be included in the coverage of dental plans.
Procedures such as restorations, caries treatment, cleaning, tartar removal and fluoride applications are part of the coverage list of all dental plans.
Some dental plans may also cover tooth extraction, root canal treatment, minor surgery and biopsies. And many, but not all, offer 24-hour emergency care.
Dental appliances, prostheses, implants and whitening do not usually cover basic plans. In general, these services can be offered under more expensive and specific dental plans.
To give you a general notion about the possible coverages that may be included in the dental plan, check out the characteristics of the main ones:
It is worth mentioning that the list of basic procedures is the minimum that all insurance companies must offer in the dental plan. But the fact is that most of them are not limited to this role and, in general, offer a wider range of services to benefit the patient.
In addition, companies that offer a dental plan often offer the option of including some specific services for an extra fee.
What to do if I need a service that the dental plan does not cover?
If you need to perform a procedure that your dental plan does not cover, you will need to pay the extra amount out of your pocket. But, before you despair, you should contact your dental plan operator.
As we have seen, it is possible that some types of procedures are not included in your dental plan. In particular, we can mention two types of services that usually have a very high demand: Installation of braces and tooth whitening.
But the fact is that some operators offer coverage for these services, either in special dental plans, or by charging a separate fee. Therefore, it is ideal that you check with your insurance company if it is possible to add the coverage of special procedures before closing the contract.
Why should you hire a dental plan?
As we have seen, there are countless treatments that you can perform if you have a dental plan.
Most importantly, you can benefit from all services by paying, in most cases, only a pre-established fee in your contract. That alone would be enough reason for you to hire a dental plan.
But, if you still have doubts about whether or not to invest in a dental plan, we have put together a series of benefits that you may have. Check out:
- Frequent consultations: With the dental plan you can prevent problems such as cavities, bad breath, gingivitis and thrush, in addition to dental and oral diseases, and continue treatment without worrying about the price.
- Keeping oral health up to date: Dentists recommend that you go to an appointment and perform cleaning to prevent and maintain oral health at least once a year. With the plan you can do this without thinking about the cost.
- Various treatment options: As we have seen, countless treatments, from simple to more complex, are part of the dental plan. And the fact is that we never know when we will need dental treatment.
Can I use a dentist not accredited in the dental plan?
This possibility exists, but it will depend on your type of agreement. Nowadays there are already companies in the market that guarantee that, if you prefer to choose a dentist who is not part of the accredited network of the dental plan, you will be able to make the consultation and, in the end, you will be reimbursed.
In this case, to request a refund, you will need to prove that the procedure has been carried out.
In this case, to request a refund, it will be necessary to prove that the procedure has been performed by presenting the invoice for the service provided. But be aware that the amount of the refund, as well as the types of treatments allowed are defined in advance in the contract.
That is, even if your dental plan allows you to see a dentist of your choice, the plan will not always cover all of your expenses.
Once again the answer to that question is: It depends on your dental plan. Each operator offers plans with different scope.
Some have a dental plan whose coverage is only regional, that is, you can only consult through the plan with dentists in your region. Other operators already offer national coverage.
This means that you must evaluate well before closing the contract. For example, if you are in the habit of traveling, it is best to hire a dental plan in which you can receive assistance from dentists in other states.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the dental plan?
If you have made it this far, you have understood the benefits that exist when hiring a dental plan. The main advantage is certainly being able to count on dental care whenever you need it and, at the same time, control your budget.
After all, in general, when you have a dental plan, you already know in advance how much you will spend per month or per year. Except for rare exceptions where you may have to pay extra to cover procedures that, perhaps, are not covered by the dental health plan.
In addition, another advantage of the dental plan is that, today, there are several operators that offer the most varied types of dental plans. With that, you can choose the one that will best suit your needs.
To give you an idea, it is possible to hire a dental plan for all family members, with coverages that may even include aesthetic treatments.
Another advantage of hiring a dental plan is cost-benefit, since monthly fees are usually low. In addition, even a trivial procedure, such as cleaning, or a simple initial consultation, can cost more than the monthly plan.
Did you know that in addition to making your smile beautiful, dentists diagnose and treat diseases that may or may not originate in the mouth?
For example, cancer and intestinal problems are diseases that can manifest themselves through oral changes identified by these professionals.
On the other hand, it is not possible to ignore that there are some negative points when it comes to the dental plan. The main disadvantage is, in fact, the possibility of disqualification from clinics while you are in the middle of treatment.
And the result of this disqualification is a major inconvenience for the patient who will have to continue treatment with another dentist.
But, in addition, the dental plan presents another disadvantage. As we have seen, the dental plan does not always cover more complex treatments.
So, to help you get an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of hiring a dental plan, we have prepared the following table:
How much does it cost and where to hire a dental plan?
As we have seen, one of the advantages of the dental plan is the low price, especially if compared to the value practiced by private dentists. Even so, there may be a large price variation that will depend, in general, on the coverages included in the dental plan.
Thus, in general, you can choose to contract dental plans whose monthly fees can vary between R $ 20 and R $ 300. In addition, the most common is that you find plans whose payment is monthly.
But it is possible to find companies that also offer the option to pay for the dental plan annually. The payment can be made by credit card and, in some cases, by bank slip.
The dental plan contract can be made by individuals or legal entities and, today, it can be done in a simple and quick way even on the company’s website.
Hiring criteria: The analysis when hiring the dental plan
Okay, so far you can understand that the dental plan has many more positive points than negative ones. After all, taking care of your health (and your pocket) is always advantageous to avoid future problems.
But, now it’s time to take action and choose the best dental plan among so many offered today. For this, we suggest that you take into account some points that will differentiate one plan from another. Are they:
- Registration with ANS
- Individual, family, children or business
- Covered and extra procedures
- Grace period
- Accredited network
In the following, we will explain in detail how you should analyze each of these factors to choose the best dental plan.
Registration with ANS
The first criterion that you must take into consideration before signing the dental plan contract is to check if the company is registered with the National Supplementary Health Agency (ANS).
This factor is important because the insurer must be authorized by the ANS to function.
One way to find out if the company that offers the dental plan is up to date is to request the registration number so that you can check it on the ANS website before closing the contract.
Individual, family, children or business
Next, note that each company will offer between one and six different dental plans. In general, they differ according to the target audience: Individual, family, business and even specific plans for children and adolescents.
Some operators also offer special dental plans aimed at aesthetics.
Within each plan you will find coverage of different services and treatments, so the price will also vary. In addition to these plans, some operators also offer special dental plans aimed at aesthetics and more complex treatments, for example.
Our recommendation is that you compare the plans according to your need and condition to choose the most suitable one.
Covered and extra procedures
Another factor that you must analyze is the procedures that are covered by the dental plan. As we have seen, it is necessary for companies to offer the basic procedures that are pointed out by ANS, such as preventive cleaning treatments, in addition to urgent and emergency care.
But the fact is that each company has different extra coverage. If you have a specific need it is important to be aware, as some plans may even include expanded coverage for dentures.
Each dental plan will have a different grace period. Grace period is nothing more than the period it takes for you to enjoy coverage and assistance after signing the plan contract.
In general, in emergency cases the wait is only 24 hours. While for consultations, the deadline for using the dental plan is up to 30 days.
In addition, for the most complex and expensive procedures, the grace period can reach up to 180 days, as is the case, for example, of prostheses. Thus, it is important that you know the grace period before purchasing the dental plan, especially if you are counting on short-term care.
In addition, it is essential that you take into consideration which are the clinics, dentists and laboratories that are part of the accredited network of the chosen dental plan. This is because each company has a network of different professionals.
The ideal is that you opt for a dental plan that has a wide accredited network and with options close to your home and / or work. To give you an idea, dental plans usually offer networks that have between 10 and more than 30 thousand professionals.
In addition, as we have seen, the accredited network of the dental plan also includes the fact that the coverage is local or national, and the choice of the plan that offers the best coverage is at your discretion.
To access the accredited network of your dental plan, in general, the company provides a list with the list of available professionals and other information on the website or application itself.
The call centers of dental plan operators also offer this support.
Another criterion that we recommend that you take into account is the co-participation factor, a term that you will encounter frequently when choosing the dental plan. There are two types of dental plan in terms of how to use covered services and payment.
The most common is the plan in which you pay only the monthly fee and do not have to pay anything after the dental treatment. However, there are some dental plans in which there is co-participation. In this case, you will have to pay, in addition to the monthly dental plan, also a part of the expenses for the dentist.
That is, you will have to share the cost with the dental plan and the percentage of payment may vary depending on the company.
In addition, the dental plan can limit the number of consultations, x-rays and various treatments. Therefore, read the contract carefully to know all the conditions before hitting the hammer.
The dental plan works like the health plan: It covers various procedures and treatments performed by previously registered dentists. For this, you need to pay a monthly fee.
However, nowadays there are different types of plans. And you need to carefully analyze which one is right for you (and your family) both in terms of costs and in terms of procedures that are covered by the dental plan. Also, take into account the grace period and other points that are determined in the contract.
To ensure that you will have the best service contracted, you must also verify that the dental plan operator is registered by ANS, an agency linked to the Ministry of Health that regulates the market for private health plans.