Choosing the Right Vision and Dental Insurance
Nobody ever gave you a manual for life, did they? What about one for when your first child was born? No? All the same, you still managed to take care of the needs of you and your family. That resilience is remarkable, so this time around, you deserve to have things easier. Especially when it comes to finding the right vision and dental insurance for your family. This time around, VSP has you covered.
Vision insurance ins and outs
We all need insurance, but unlike many other types of insurance, the more you use your vision insurance, the more you and your family stand to benefit from having it. For example, the idea behind homeowner’s insurance or auto insurance is to have a safety net should something bad happen. But when you have vision insurance, by contrast, with every additional benefit that you take advantage of during the year, the more consistent vision correction your family will enjoy in the long term.
The reality is, without an annual comprehensive eye exam, you may not be aware of any vision problems you might have. This is because many vision problems are subtle, and because you don’t always notice collective changes to your eyes over time. What’s more, your vision is almost always changing, so just because you had perfect vision when you were younger doesn’t necessarily mean that won’t change even over a short one- to two-year period. For children, this is even more pronounced, especially since their eyes continue to develop many years after they are born.
Thankfully, when you extend an individual vision insurance plan to your family, you all get an annual comprehensive eye exam for just the cost of your copay. An annual eye exam is not only important for detecting, diagnosing, and treating vision abnormalities early —assisting in preventing long-term damages—but it is also a vital asset to your overall health. During an eye exam, your eye doctor will also be able to see if you show signs of certain chronic illnesses, like high blood pressure and diabetes.
In addition to your covered eye exams, vision insurance has plenty more to offer. If you or a family member is provided with a prescription to correct their vision, your plan includes a frame allowance to put toward the purchase of new eyeglasses or contacts. Combine that with the savings offered on specific brands of glasses, and you’ll likely end up paying considerably less for all of the new lenses that your family needs. There are additional savings on specific brands of prescription sunglasses and various lens enhancements, like light reactive lenses, anti-glare coatings, and scratch resistance.
Dental insurance ins and outs
Dental insurance can be generally divided into four different plan types, all of which have various advantages and disadvantages based on the specific needs of your family. Typically, the more money you pay in advance, usually through a monthly premium, the more coverage you will have and the less you will have to pay once services are provided. The four plan types include the following, and are in order loosely based on their level of coverage:
Dental Health Maintenance Organizations (DHMOs)—define a set network of dentists that you must choose between. In doing so, you receive pre-determined, heavily discounted dental services that are primarily covered by your provider. Should you go outside the provider dentist network though, most DHMO plans will not provide any coverage or further access to the plan’s benefits. This can be seen as a major disadvantage, but as long as you stay in-network, you’ll enjoy a reasonable monthly premium, no maximum benefit limit, and a significant decrease in your overall out-of-pocket costs.
Dental Preferred Provider Organizations (DPPOs)—also provide you with a network of dentists but offer additional flexibility where DHMOs do not. When you stay in-network, you will receive the maximum amount of covered services and benefits detailed under your plan, but even if you go outside the network, you will receive coverage equivalent to that of your DPPO plan. Your in-network dentist will offer services at a lower rate than an out-of-network dentist, and you will have to pay the difference in price out of pocket.
Indemnity plans—most commonly do not have a defined network. That means, you have the freedom to go to any dentist you would like without any strings attached. However, in return, you are required to pay for all of the services you and your family receive out of your own pocket, only to be reimbursed by your provider afterward. Depending on the type of indemnity plan and the type of services provided, your reimbursements could vary anywhere between 50% and 100%. For example, most routine services, like X-rays and cleanings, will be covered entirely, but you’ll likely be reimbursed at a lower rate for things like bridges and root canals.
Dental Discount plans—probably the most “laissez faire” dental plan type, although it is not a dental insurance plan, these plans also give you the luxury to go to any dentist that you choose. Instead of having to pay copays, deductibles, or reimbursable service fees though, you pay a monthly or annual membership fee and receive discounts on the services that you and your family use. The flexibility is a major benefit, but you may experience more out-of-pocket costs, especially if you have a year where many dental trips are necessary or if you have a bigger family.
Comparing Dental and Vision Insurance Plan Benefits and Costs
The cost of dental insurance for your family may vary widely. Doing a little research to find the right dental insurance plan can help you save money, while keeping you and your family’s smile healthy. While perusing the details of different plans and considering their costs, you’ll notice a typical plan’s 100-80-50 coverage structure. With the exception of discount plans, this means that 100% of the costs for preventative procedures, like bi-annual check-ups, cleanings, and X-rays, are covered; 80% of the costs of basic procedures, like fillings and root canals, are covered; and 50% of more intensive procedures, to include crowns and bridges, are covered.
Choosing the Best Dental and Vision Insurance for Your Family
Ultimately, each dental insurance and vision insurance plan has different costs and conditions that vary significantly, depending on which benefits they offer in comparison to other plans. The best advice is to read through the insurance plan details carefully before arriving at your final decision. Naturally, if you elect a coverage plan with lower monthly or yearly costs, then the coverage in some plan benefit areas might be limited or not apply at all. You know the ultimate needs of your family better than anyone else. Nobody is in a better position to decide which type of dental and vision insurance plans best meet those needs based on your monthly budget.
If you and your family need insurance, VSP can help. We’ve partnered with Guardian Dental so you can get dental insurance for your family in minutes. Plans in most states start at just $20/month. And it’s easy to get vision coverage for your entire family using a VSP Individual Vision plan. Learn more about vision and dental insurance for you and your family.