Save Money By Increasing Your Dental Insurance Coverage

dental insurance, saving money on insurance, dental coverage

I felt something hard in my mouth as I chewed a Starburst candy left over from Halloween. At first I wondered if something was in the candy, but as I felt the inside of my mouth with my tongue I realized a filling had come out of one of my teeth.

When I was able to get into my dentist a few days later, I was told they could attempt to put a filling back in, however given the size of the filling the long term recommendation was to put a crown on it. I agreed with the dentist’s recommended course of action. A temporary filling was put in, and I made two additional appointments to have the crown put on. I was given a price estimate of a little over $1000 to complete the work, and unfortunately my dental plan didn’t cover any of it.

Ironically, that same day at work I received an email from my employer saying that the enrollment period for 2016 medical coverage was now open. Taking a look at my dental plan options, I noted that we had the same two options as previous years. I’ve always selected the less expensive option as it covers twice a year cleanings 100%, as well as 80% of fillings. Our family has never needed anything outside these two treatments, thus any additional coverage would have been a waste of money. However, my son is in need of orthodontic treatment which was in the plan for next year, and now I have this little matter of a crown.

Plan Comparison

Plan A:

  • Covers cleaning twice a year 100%
  • Covers Fillings 80%
  • Crowns and Bridges are not covered
  • Orthodontic treatment is not covered
  • Monthly Family Cost: $62

Plan B:

  • Covers cleanings twice a year 100%
  • Covers Fillings 80%
  • Crowns and Bridges are covered 65%
  • Orthodontic treatment is covered 50% maximum benefit of $2500
  • Monthly Family Cost: $140

Cost Difference / Savings

  • My monthly dental plan cost would increase $78 a month, or $936 for the year, to enroll in dental plan B.
  • The estimated cost of my son’s orthodontic treatment is $3100. With dental plan B I would save 50% of that, or $1550.
  • Additionally, if I waited until the new coverage began on January 1st to get my crown, I would also save 65% of the $1000 cost, or $650.
  • With the additional coverage of dental plan B, I would save $2200 between the orthodontic care and the cost of the crown.

I would have a net savings of $1264 for enrolling in dental plan B, and deferring the crown until 2016.

Many times medical and dental procedures cannot wait. But if you find yourself in a situation where it can, and the end of the year is near, it may be worth analyzing your plan options. You may find that changing your coverage for the coming year, and delaying treatment could save you some money.

Have you every delayed a procedure to wait for a new medical plan to take effect? How much did you save?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • Our whole family has dentist appointments next week. We’ll have a good idea of what we might need coming up, and this could actually help us since we’ll be able to make our open enrollment decisions based on what the dentist says.

  • We have an FSA through my husband’s employer, so saving and spending that money every year results in doing things at different times than we might have if the plan didn’t exist. Usually the result is that he orders new glasses ahead of time, but this time around we’ll be bumping up our contributions to cover some surgery I need to have early next year. We only have one level of dental insurance, but our dentist is good about scheduling things so that the maximum is covered every year. I’ve got two semi-temporary dental things going on right now because the final fix wouldn’t have been covered right away. I guess we have a good dentist, though, because his “temporary” fixes usually last for years before they need more work.

  • Unfortunately, you don’t get much access to dental stuff on Medicare plans. I do get a discount plan for a little extra. It saved my bacon when I needed a crown and root canal. People don’t realize just how much money dental work costs until they’re staring at the bill. I still paid around $800 for everything, and apparently I got off light. Very, very light.

    Read your options, folks!

  • We could get dental insurance through our former employer but you have a limited number of dentists who participate in the plan and for us we feel keeping our dentist is more important. We do put a set amount aside each month for medical and dental bills not covered by insurance but because we are pretty careful about brushing, flossing and twice yearly check ups, we seem to be in pretty decent shape and (knock wood) have had very few expenses beyond the normal cleaning and checkup.

  • @Anne – at least the good thing about the FSA is that you have all the funds available to you at the beginning of the year. I agree that it certainly sounds like you have a great dentist willing to work with you and help you get the most from your insurance with little to nothing out of your pocket. Most dentists and doctors don’t give a rip……

  • @Kathy – while it’s not a guarantee, being diligent with taking care of your teeth and having them checked often can certainly make a big difference in keeping dental bills down – thanks for stopping by!

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