Dental insurance was developed in the 1960’s as a separate benefit for oral health care. At that time, the standard level of coverage was $1000 maximum per year; preventive services at 100%, basic services at 80% and major services at 50%. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Most plans are still at this exact same level. There are now some plans with maximums that are a bit higher, but the coverage levels are usually the same.
Back in the 1960’s, a patient could easily have their teeth cleaned and examined twice a year, have their necessary x-rays, and have a good amount of basic care for their teeth. Now, you would be hard pressed to find anyone that doesn’t max out their benefits with their two cleanings and one crown. Dental insurance has not kept up in any way with the increased costs in dentistry.
We have known this trend for many years and encouraged patients to think of their dental insurance more like a supplement rather than a “pay-all”. However, in the past couple of years, more challenges have arisen with dental insurance. Many employers are struggling in this economy to continue to provide dental coverage for their employees. So they go to the insurance company with a certain amount of dollars for dental coverage and ask the insurance company what benefits can be provided for that amount. Insurance companies then begin to create all different kinds of limits to a plan in order to provide a policy for the designated dollar amount.
Stay tuned for more information on current trends in dental insurance.