The State Of Dental Service Plans
One of the most outrageous facts about the insurance business today is level of coverage of dental service plans. Most dental service plans focus on prophylactic care and provide strong coverage for examinations, routine checkups and teeth cleaning. All of which are excellent services provided by most dentists.
However, the vast majority of the costs are associated with dental work that is associated with teeth that are already requiring repair. Most dental service plans provide limited coverage for the repairing of teeth and would rather you have them extracted based on the percentage of the costs covered. It would also appear that a dentist can charge almost any price they wish and it is only through the growth of the dental clinics where prices are reasonable that most get any value out of a dental service plan at all.
It is perhaps important to note that most tooth repair is being performed as the patient is in pain and is in fact a true medical condition. Replacing a tooth or doing a root canal should not be considered cosmetic just as replacing an arm or failed organ is not. Dental care is needed by almost everybody at some point, and it is one of the most unpleasant experiences that most folk encounter.
The Basic Insurance Problem
Perhaps the issue with any dental service plan is the simple fact that unlike general health insurance, dental insurance is covering something that will eventually wear out. Teeth rarely make it through the battles of life. How many folk actually get buried with a full head of their original teeth? The basic problem with a given dental service plan is that the provider is well aware that the percentages favor the need for expensive dental services for most people and hence the provider is not willing to provide good levels of coverage for those items.
Their financial models are based on premiums that are attractively low but have little real value once the problems start. However, what is truly incredible is that the majority of those covered would actually pay a little more to have better coverage in their dental service plan with higher ceilings on the more expensive items.
A New Idea
Insurance for teeth should be based on a similar model to extended service plans. You pay a graduated fee based on the level of coverage you desire, including full replacement coverage where repair of any tooth is covered. For this the dental service plan premium would be quite high, prohibitively for most of course, but would at least provide an option.