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Dental Discount Cards vs Dental Insurance

Updated on April 2, 2012

What's the Difference Between Dental Discount Cards and Insurance?

After I was laid off from my job, I worried about getting dental insurance for my kids. And when I looked around, I couldn't find an affordable insurance that covered our regular dentist. So I was looking at either switching dentists or paying more than I wanted, neither of which was an ideal option. Then I found out about dental discount cards. Like traditional insurance, they help you save money on teeth cleaning and other procedures, but they differ in other ways. Here's a look at discount dental programs compared to dental insurance.

Benefits of Dental Discount Cards

Like the name suggests, dental discount cards basically give you a hefty savings over the cost of out-of-pocket expenses. They're available for both individuals and families and can start at less than $100 a year. That's much cheaper than traditional insurance, which can run $200 - $300 annually.

But the price isn't the only thing I like about these programs.There are several reasons I ended up choosing a discount dental program over traditional insurance. Here are some of the benefits:

Quick activation - With the discount plans, there's no long application process. Simply fill out a quick form online to indicate who you want to cover and provide the billing information, and you're done. You can print your card online and your discount dental card is normally active within just a few days.

No annual limits - Most insurance plans cap the amount you can save each year, typically around $1000 to $1500. So if you need some expensive work done on your teeth such as a crown, oral surgery, etc., you're responsible for paying anything over that limit on your own. With a discount program, there's no annual limit, so you can use it as often as needed for regular appointments and teeth cleaning or any other work you need done on your teeth. Some even cover cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening. You can even use it in conjunction with your insurance to decrease the cost of any out-of-pocket expenses after you hit your annual insurance limit.

No approvals needed - With discount dental cards, you don't need to wait for your insurance to approve any procedures. So if you're in pain or your dentist says you need the work done soon, you can have it done right away without any hassles. They're also accepted by a wide range of dentists, so you're not stuck choosing a provider from a short DMO list.

I found a plan through and was able to see a dentist within 3 days. Even when I get a full-time job again, I may stick with my discount program because in the long run I think it may be cheaper than traditional insurance and easier to use. My son is also going to need braces, and some of the discount programs cover orthodontics, which would be a big savings for us. I'm convinced that discount programs are the way to go for my family.

What Do You Think of Dental Discount Cards?

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