I have two questions. Why is dental care not considered part of healthcare insurance and why does dental insurance pay for almost nothing?
I have never been clear why my teeth and oral health are not considered part of my body and covered under healthcare insurance. Why aren’t dentists considered specialist under health insurance like cardiologists or gastroenterologists?
Dental health was not seen as an essential part of overall health until the 60’s and 70’s. At that time, health insurance policies did not include dental care. Indemnity policy sprouted up to cover dental problems. The market for dental coverage grew as did the lobby and separate coverage evolved. In the 1970’s the highest amount of dental care coverage was $1500.00. This has not changed in almost 40 years. Inflation alone should have increased the coverage to over $10,000 annually.
Most employer dental plans cap out at $1,000.00 coverage. This covers hardly anything except cleanings twice a year. If there is an emergency or need a root canal, most of the cost is out of pocket. Forget dentures. Nothing is covered.
It is a travesty that the dental insurance industry has been allowed to provide such minimal coverage. It is also unbelievable that the Affordable Care act did not address dental coverage. Being able to eat is an essential part of good health. Oral infections can wreck havoc on the body and cause unmanageable pain and suffering.
Every time I get a call about a dental issue, I know the client will have to pay out of pocket. Most dentist for any extensive work like root canals, require payment before a procedure. The only payment plans available are through credit card companies that have agreements with dental offices. These plans usually allow interest free for 12 months. A root canal can cost $3,000.00.
It is time for the dental insurance industry to make some major changes and start paying in real time. $1,500.00 annually is unacceptable. Why not offer a variety of plans with different deductibles that give people options.
Why is there no outrage that the dental industry has been able to fly under the radar for 40 years? Time for a change.