Here we look at dental insurance and the type of treatment that this will typically cover. We will also look at when you may want to add this to your medical insurance policy and also when you might want to think about leaving off your cover.
There are many reasons as to why people don’t go to the dentist, one of which is the cost. One of the best ways to offset the cost of going to a dentist is dental insurance. If you are considering securing dental insurance for you or your family, here are 5 questions you should know the answer to before you purchase a plan.
1. What does dental insurance in cover?
Every insurer provides varying levels of benefits when it comes to dental insurance. At the most basic level plans will cover routine dental procedures such as:
Consultations and examinations
Emergency dental treatment
Some plans on the market – usually those that offer more comprehensive coverage – will also include major dental procedures such as:
Orthodontic work such as medically necessary braces and tooth adjustment
Periodontitis treatment or major gum restoration
Treatment for gingivitis
Crowns including replacements
It is important to note that not every plan will cover the above, some may exclude specific treatments or will attach limits on other types of care. It is always worth checking your full benefits schedule on this.
2. How much can I expect to pay for dental work?
Before looking into purchasing dental insurance it could prove beneficial to be aware of the approximate costs of dental work in your country of residence. Some countries such as Hong Kong and Singapore have notoriously expensive dentists which can cost anything from USD 75 to US 250 just for a basic check up. Other countries such as Thailand or Indonesia we see these costs being much lower in the USD 15 to USD 50 range for a consultation and examination with extra work such as fluoride sealant and X-rays costing extra.
3. Do I really need dental cover?
Dental insurance comes as a feature that is either fixed to a medical policy in the standard benefits or that can be added as an additional extra.
In the case where it is included as standard benefit on a policy then the premium what you pay will typically be higher. This is because you are paying for the extra benefit whether you intend to use it or not.
Plan where dental can be add do offer greater flexibility and it means that you can easily calculate the cost of having the additional dental cover on you plan. This is often worth looking into particularly in countries where dental care is relatively cheap such as Thailand. Be aware that it can be the case that the added premium what you could pay for the extra dental can be more than what you might pay if you simply paid for the treatment out of pocket! Sometime having no dental insurance actually works out better.
4. Should you travel for dental care?
Medical tourism has become increasingly popular, with many people going to countries like Thailand for lower cost medical care. Equally as common traveling for dental work has also started to become increasingly popular. Beyond that, many expats have dentists in their home country and prefer to visit them when they travel home.
It is always worth considering whether your plan will cover care while abroad. As dental coverage is usually part of a medical insurance plan. This means that coverage will usually be dependent on the medical plan. For example, if you secure a health insurance plan with dental coverage for Hong Kong only, you will only be allowed to submit claims for dental work done in Hong Kong.
5. How do I buy dental insurance?
Stand-alone dental insurance plans unfortunately are not common on the international market. Instead dental insurance is always attached to medical insurance coverage in what’s called a ‘rider’. Riders are additional coverage you add to primary insurance plans and will come with an additional premium.
In short this means that to receive dental coverage you are going to need to either have an existing medical insurance plan or purchase a new plan. That said, there are always options available for you.