You need to be extremely careful when looking for the best health insurance for dental coverage. You’ll have endless options and differences among them are extremely fine. A wrong decision can result in the loss of hundreds of dollars in annual premiums.
This guide will make the task easier for you. Here are the key differences between dental insurance plans and the ones that have proven to give good value for money.
We will also point out covers that have proven to be big rip-offs. It’s up to you to choose what you think is best.
Medicare alone isn’t enough
It’s important to note that relying on Medicare alone for your dental health care is unwise. Dentists routinely rate Medicare’s oral health benefits as zero, or next to zero. This is because Medicare health policies don’t cover a lot of dental procedures. Medicare fund is limited to necessary medical services.
For instance, Medicare will cover the dental exam needed prior to a kidney transplant to heart valve replacement. It also covers jaw reconstruction following an accidental injury and extractions performed in preparation for radiation treatment.
Beyond that, however, you have to pay for dental care services. For instance, routine dental care on basic dental procedures such as fillings, tooth extractions, cleaning, and dentures aren’t covered at all even if you’re admitted in hospital.
Thus, the first step in getting reliable dental insurance cover in Australia is to look beyond the government-funded Medicare, and get a policy from a private health insurance providers. Luckily, there are very many such providers.
There are two broad categories of dental insurance plans
These private health insurance companies provide two broad categories of dental insurance plans: general and major.
1.General dental insurance – includes basic procedures such as plaque removals, check-up & clean, small fillings, and x-rays.
2. Major dental insurance – covers major dental procedures such as dental crowns, wisdom teeth removal, bridges, cover for dentures, and orthodontics/braces.
Choosing between the two shouldn’t be difficult unless you’re short on finances. If you’re a young person with good health and even better oral health, then the obvious option is general dental insurance. The good news is that general dental policies are also more affordable. So, you can have multiple checkups within the year and even have cleaning sessions and plaque removals which typically cost a few hundred dollars per procedure, but the policy would cover the whole cost.
On the other hand, for an older adult with deteriorating oral health, a major dental policy would be the most ideal. Usually, as you grow older,the body becomes more vulnerable to diseases. Thus, a major dental insurance plan will let you have the appropriate care.
The other advantage of major dental insurance plans is that they cover “extras” such as crowns and dentures, which older people usually need.
Other than age, your health should be a factor. If you’re still young but already have serious oral issues such as extreme delays and numerous cavities, it may be wiser to get the major dental plan. The same applies to people with overly sensitive teeth.
But, if you feel you can’t comfortably pay the premiums, you can just enroll in a general dental plan, regardless of your age or current oral health.
Basic vs. medium vs. comprehensive covers
As you run through the different dental policies, you’re also likely to come across these three terms — basic, medium and comprehensive. These three terms are used to differentiate the different levels of cover available. All three will cover your dental health, but there are a few more things you need to know:
- Basic cover – covers only one medical area such as general dental or one other area of a health cover.
- Medium cover is a lot more expensive. It means that you’re covered for all general dental issues, endodontics (such as root canals), and major dental procedures. Medium covers also cover five other oral health-related medical expenses such as orthodontics and prescriptions. For one, the basic cover doesn’t include prescriptions.
- Comprehensive cover is, however, the real deal, covering pretty much every dental problem including endodontics, orthodontics, prescriptions and many others. Moreover, it provides better cover both general and major dental issues than medium insurance plans.
Making your pick – it’s rarely about the price
After considering all these, you may now be ready to pick. In making that decision, don’t base the quality on price alone. Look at what you’re getting –the rebates and how much the policy actually pays when you most need them.
For example, HCI’s major policy pays up to $3,900 per person per year. Yet, Mediabank’s policy which is 60% more expensive will only pay up to $1,600 per person per year. If everything else remained constant, the HCI deal would win all day.
Another plan that is a big rip off is HBF’s top combined cover for two adults. This policy requires you to pay a massive $1,344 per month. And, at the end of it all, they only pay up to $1,000 per person per year. Doesn’t make sense, right?
Good thing there are many affordable policies out there that offer just as many benefits. For family policies, Bupa Australia is only charging $140 per month. Compared to the HBF premiums, you’d be saving $14,457 per year. And for single adults, Ahm is charging just $44 per month while HBF at the extreme end is charging $672 per month, a difference of $7,542 per year.
We’re not saying that you should go for the cheapest insurance plans you can find, we are just saying that if you look well, you can find value-for-money plans that will give you what you’re looking for without taking all your money.
The best thing about all this is that you can always change your insurance plan or even change providers at any time. So, you don’t have to worry if you don’t get it right the first time.