I currently have dental insurance through my work and while it does seem to save a lot of money I was curious how much did it really save me. So I kept track of our dental costs through 2012 and here is the summary of the work done:
- Four checkups and cleanings (two kids, two adults)
- Three adult fillings
- Four kid fillings
- Coating on four teeth to prevent future cavities for kids
Total cost invoiced by the dentist: $1952. Yikes that’s a lot of money!
The premiums on my dental plan cost me $37.99/pay period or $911.76 per year. Ugh, that’s a lot of cash off my paycheques, but my co-pay on all that dental work was only $414. So in total we paid $1325, so we saved about $627 or 32% of the cost.
What is really interesting is the checkups and cleanings were $748 of the cost invoiced by the dentist. So if you ever have those years were all you have done is the cleanings, then I’m actually paying more in premiums than the savings I’m getting from the insurance. To make it break even on a yearly basis you need to have at least one filling fixed per year in your family. After that I’m actually getting some savings out of the insurance. Of course if you dental plan covers major expenses as well there is that additional benefit which can save you even more.
In summary, yes dental insurance can be worth it if you get routine work done on a fairly consistent basis (at least in this example), but if you have really good teeth and almost never get any work done…well you are likely in a losing situation.
So are you planning to have dental insurance in your retirement? Or are you going to just accept the costs the come up?