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Joel Lapierre
February 3, 2021

Is Dental Insurance a Rip-Off?

What’s one thing that makes your heart start to beat a little faster and your palms start to sweat?

If you said going to the dentist, you’re right!

Nearly 22% of Canadians say they have some anxiety related to dental treatment. There’s even an official term for severe cases: dentophobia.

If anxiety about getting a cavity filled isn’t bad enough, then there’s the frightful bill you’re hit with afterwards. It’s enough to make anyone dentophobic!

And don’t get me started on more complex work, like root canals and crowns! The one thing that may actually hurt worse comes a few weeks later in the mail. For those procedures, you often pay hundreds or thousands of dollars … after insurance!

Those big out-of-pocket bills may make you wonder if dental insurance is even worth it?

After crunching the numbers, I discovered that, for many people, the answer might be NO.

The math on teeth

Dental insurance often gets lumped into the “must-have” medical insurance category.

However, dental insurance works differently than typical health insurance. Many health insurance plans will pay most or all your medical bills after you hit your deductible. Compare that with dental insurance, where many benefits stop after you reach the annual coverage limit ($1,000 to $2,000 is common).

Let’s say you have major dental problems this year that require thousands of dollars of work. A dental insurance plan will stop paying just when you need it most.

Even in a year with just routine cleanings and X-rays, the average person stands to lose about $200 with dental insurance.

That’s because monthly premium for the insurance can be as high as $50 (or $600 a year). In most cases, two routine dental visits would only set you back around $400 out of pocket.

What about dental insurance through your job?

Tough news there, as well. Not all subsidized plans make financial sense, so if you are offered dental insurance at work, take a hard look at the numbers. Factor in the monthly payments, the annual maximum coverage limit, and the co-pays.

If you’re paying a low monthly premium to get a large annual maximum benefit, it might make financial sense.

If that’s not the case, a good alternative is to max out your health savings account (HSA) so you can pay dental expenses (and other healthcare costs) from it.

Bottom line: For most people, dental insurance is not a must-have, unlike medical and homeowner’s insurance. Read the fine print of your policy, run the math, and make sure truly fits your needs.

If deciding whether or not dental insurance is right for you has you grinding your teeth (see what we did there?) give us a call. We can help you review your options and make the best choice.

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