Where dental payment plans are concerned, we can be clear about one thing - they are good for dental practices. Firstly, they ensure that patients will return to the practice for their routine check ups and secondly, they provide a stable income for the practice. However, their benefits to patients are less clear.
There are a number of different types of dental plan including:
- Capitation schemes which provide cover for all dental treatments
- Maintenance schemes which cover routine maintenance such as check ups and hygienist sessions and give discounts on other treatments
- Insurance schemes which, typically, give cash payments of a proportion of the treatment cost
- What is the monthly premium/payment and how does this compare with existing expenditure on dental care?
- What is covered and what will you have to pay extra for for. Extras may include policy excesses, a proportion of the treatment cost, laboratory bills etc.
- What happens if I don't make a claim or miss a checkup? Normally, you will not be given credit for the missed appointments.
- What are the alternatives. If your dentist offers credit facilities, it may be cheaper for you to belong to a basic maintenance plan which offers a discount on treatment and spread the cost of more costly treatments via extended finance rather than belong to a full capitation plan which you may make little use of.