4 Tips for Choosing the Best Dental and Vision Plans
How many times have you wished you had dental insurance when you’re at your annual check-up and your dentist discovers a cavity or at the eye doctor and he says you need glasses for the first time. For many, this is not an uncommon scenario. Fortunately, there is a way to lower those expected, and unexpected costs: dental and vision insurance.
Research shows people with dental and vision benefits are more likely to get preventive care and follow their provider’s recommended treatments. Individuals who do not have access to this insurance through an employer are realizing its best practice not to wait until there is a problem. So, whether it’s your first-time reviewing benefits or you evaluate plans every year, here are some basic tips for you to consider when choosing your dental and vision plans, such as those offered by Delta Dental of Iowa and DeltaVision.
Tip 1: Don’t Miss Open Enrollment
Each year, there is an open enrollment period, a timeframe in which you can enroll in a health plan. Job-based plans may have different enrollment windows. Below are some common deadlines based on plan types:
In general, an employee-based plan opens November 1 and ends December 31. Be sure to check with your employer on the timing.
If you are looking at an individual plan on Healthcare.gov, the enrollment window is between November 1 – December 15.
For those enrolling in Medicare the period is typically between October 15 – December 7.
Previously, DeltaVision coverage was available only through employers offering Delta Dental insurance coverage. Beginning in the enrollment period for the 2020 calendar year, individuals and families may now purchase DeltaVision coverage with a Delta Dental insurance plan.
Remember, if you have a qualifying life event such as a marriage, birth, divorce or job change, you may be eligible to enroll in a plan outside of these specific dates.
Tip 2: Plan Coverage Costs
One of the most important aspects to understand is what, exactly, your plan covers or what is covered by plans on the open market. For example, Delta Dental offers three plans: Preventive, Preferred and Platinum. Typically plans vary from basic coverage (cleaning, x-rays, cavities) to expanded coverage for major services (crowns, bridges and dentures). Most individual dental plans typically do not cover orthodontia services (braces) or cosmetic dentistry (caps) so if you have a child in need of braces in the near-future, be sure to pay careful attention to what services are covered in each plan.
Tip 3: Coverage Limits
Unlike general health insurance that covers the majority of health care issues, many dental plans have annual coverage amounts ranging from $1,000 to $2,000. Many vision plans will give you a set amount for frames, lenses and contacts. To offset additional expenses, you may want to consider using a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account - pre-tax money that can be used for medical expenses not covered by insurance, such as braces.
Tip 4: Will You Be My Provider?
Many people already have a preferred dentist or eye doctor but he or she may not be an approved provider, or in-network, in some plans. For example, a basic plan may only cover, say 30-40% of dentists or eye doctors in your state, whereas a more robust plan will cover closer to 90% of the providers in your area. Therefore, a great tip is to review the list of approved/in-network providers before making your decision. Another option is to call your dentist’s or eye doctor’s office and ask what plans they do accept before choosing a plan.
While there are many more considerations when reviewing dental and vision plans, these tips will give you a great place to start. And don’t forget, open enrollment for 2020 for most plans begins November 1.