Use It or Lose It: In-Network vs. Out-of-Network Dental Coverage

October 20, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — dentontheponds @ 12:25 am

Dental insurance underlined in blueYour premiums for your dental insurance are an investment in affordable dentistry to keep your mouth healthy. With oral and general health closely connected, it’s important to visit your dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and checkup. However, 35% of adults never see a dentist. Despite more Americans than ever before having coverage, less than 3% of people meet or exceed their annual limits. Don’t throw money down the drain. If you’re ready to make the most of what you’ve paid for, your first step is choosing a dentist. Here’s what you need to know when considering an in-network and out-of-network dentist. 

Benefits of an In-Network Dentist

Your dental insurance will recommend choosing a dentist in their network to enjoy more coverage at the time of services. They have pre-negotiated rates with select dental practices for common services, like preventive dentistry, fillings, and extractions. 

Although every plan differs, 100% of preventive services are covered after a co-payment when visiting an in-network dentist. If you require any dental work, your insurance can pay 50% to 80% of the expenses after meeting your annual deductible.

Generally, fees are lower and you’ll pay less out-of-pocket when staying in-network. However, you’ll face limitations with the dentists and treatments your insurance will cover. 

Benefits of an Out-of-Network Dentist

You have the freedom to visit any dentist that accepts your insurance, even if they are out-of-network. This allows you to choose any dentist and enjoy a wider variety of services. You can still use your coverage, but you’ll have to pay the difference between your insurance’s allowable amount and the dentist’s fees. 

Although preventive care can still be covered by 100%, only 40% to 50% of restorative fees may be paid by your dental insurance. You will spend more out-of-pocket and the overall fees can be higher.

Use It Before You Lose It

No matter the dentist you choose, your dental insurance doesn’t last forever. Your benefits will reset at the end of the year. You’ll lose anything you don’t use and nothing will carry over into the new year, including your annual allowance. You won’t be reimbursed for your premiums or deductibles. You can lose hundreds to thousands of dollars that could have been spent on supporting your oral health and overall wellness. 

There’s still time to use your dental insurance before it expires. Ask your friends and family for recommendations to find a great dentist in your area. Give them a call to see if they accept your dental insurance to keep a healthy smile within your budget. 

About Dr. Monil Mehta

Dr. Mehta is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine and has regularly continued his education in many specialties, like dental implants, sleep apnea, restorative dentistry, and orthodontics. He welcomes both in-network and out-of-network patients. Request an appointment through his website or call (952) 900-4107.

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