A History of Dental Insurance

Dental insurance limitations

Dental insurance came into existence in 1954 as a result of union bargaining efforts on the part of dock workers in California, Oregon, and Washington. Surprisingly, the maximum it covered then was the same as today, nearly 70 years later. An average of $1,000 – $1,500 dollars per year. If your policy had kept up with inflation, it would cover over $9,000 of dental care per family member! We’re here to help you maximize your benefits, but if you rely on dental insurance alone to maintain your dental health, you may find yourself disappointed.

While the premiums rise, the annual maximum allowances remain the same, and as employers struggle with the rising cost of medical benefits, dental benefits get reduced. Here are some of the limitations and changes we are seeing on some plans:

  • Only one or two routine visits are covered per year (even though the the ADA recommends three or four visits for people prone to or experiencing gum disease)
  • Emergency exams not covered if you’ve already had two routine exams in a year
  • White fillings and tooth-colored crowns not covered, only metal silver ones
  • Tooth extractions not covered
  • Preexisting conditions like missing teeth not covered
  • Won’t allow the replacement of broken down fillings
  • Waiting periods for major care like crowns

Dental insurances are entirely different than medical insurance. Often a person’s dental and health plans will be provided by two different companies. Having insurance is helpful, but many people have needs that go beyond $1,000 of annual coverage.

The good news: We have an in-house benefit plan called the hygiene membership that covers your family’s preventive care needs and many no-interest flexible payment options for other types of treatment. So if you don’t want to deal with insurance, you certainly don’t have to.

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