Omaha NE Dentist Explains How to Pay for a Dentist
How to Pay a Dentist
Regular dental appointments are essential for your overall health, as well as your budget. Having your teeth checked and cleaned on a regular basis will help you avoid costly and painful procedures in the future. If you have dental insurance, then you may be able to pay your dentist via your insurance. If you do not have dental insurance or if your dental insurance does not provide good coverage, you may need to arrange to pay your dentist out of your own pocket.
Using Health Insurance
Check if your dental insurance covers your dental work.You can qualify for dental insurance in two ways: through your employer or through a government assistance program. You can also qualify for healthcare if you are a war pensioner or if you are retired and have a pension. You can enroll in private healthcare on your own, but this is often expensive and only done if you cannot get health care through an employer or through the government.
- In the U.S., most health insurance does not cover basic and preventive dental work. Only dental work that is determined to be "medically necessary," such as certain dental surgeries and endodontic procedures. Separate dental insurance is necessary for basic and preventive dental coverage.
- In the UK, you can qualify for free dental treatment if you are under 18 years old, are 19 or younger and a full time student, or are pregnant or have had a baby within the last 12 months.
- In the United States, you may qualify for Medicaid, which covers basic dental care, if you are 21 years old or younger, if you are 21 or older and a full time student, or if you qualify under other Medicaid requirements.Medicaid is a health benefit program available to some low-income individuals and families based on eligibility. Medicaid is only available to those who qualify based on income and family size.
- Call your insurance provider to check if they will cover your dental work. Most dental insurance covers basic dental work like cleanings, fillings, and check-ups or dental work to a certain dollar amount. More extensive procedures like dental surgery or dental appliances may not be covered by your provider or only partly covered by your provider. Find out exactly how much you are expected to pay for your dental work, as you will need to budget for a partial or full payment.
Ask your dentist if he is a preferred provider with your insurance company.Many dental plans provide a list of dentists recognized under your insurance, known as preferred providers. These dentists have a contract with the dental benefit plan you are enrolled in.
- When booking a dental appointment, you should try to go to a preferred dental provider, as your insurance company will then be required to cover all or some of costs of your visit. If you go to a dentist outside of the preferred providers, you may have to pay for your dental work out of pocket.
Provide your dental insurance card to your dentist.If your dental insurance company can provide coverage for your dental work, you can give your dental insurance card to your dentist’s receptionist when it is time to pay for your appointment. The receptionist will then use your dental insurance number to charge your insurance company for the dental work.
- Some insurance companies arranged through an employer may require you to pay for the dental work upfront and then submit a receipt to be reimbursed for the cost of the dental work. If so, you may need to pay for the dental work and then send in a receipt so your dental insurance company can reimburse you.
Confirm the payment with your dental insurance company.Contact your dental plan if there are any discrepancies or issues with your dental bill.
- It can be useful to check with your dental insurance company before you arrange any dental work to confirm your plan will cover your expenses. That way, you will not be surprised by a large dental bill after you have already had your dental work done.
Paying Out of Pocket
Talk to your dentist about a payment plan.If you have been a long-standing patient at your dental office or if you have a payment history at the dentist that shows you can pay your bills on time, you may be able to arrange a payment plan with your dentist. In this arrangement, you would have to pay for a portion of the dental work up front as a down payment, usually one-third to one-half of the total bill. This will ensure you cover the dentist’s fixed costs, such as the dental lab bill and the overhead expenses for maintaining the office.
- You can then arrange to pay the remainder of the bill in monthly fixed payments. Your dentist may set a repayment time frame, usually several months, depending on the cost of the dental work.
- You should also discuss if your dentist is going to be charging you interest each month on top of the payments. “No Interest” payment plans are typically offered if you have a short time period to pay off your balance, between six to eighteen months. You will be required to pay the minimum balance once a month and pay off the balance within the allotted time. Otherwise, interest will be added.
- “Low Interest” payment plans are typically arranged when you have a longer term to pay off the bill, usually up to five years. You should try to pay off the monthly payments on time and as fast as possible to avoid paying interest.
Ask if you can get a cash discount.If you are able to pay for your dental work upfront with cash, you may qualify for a cash discount. Ask your dentist if he can offer you a tax-free amount if you can pay your bill in a lump sum on the spot.
- Often, paying in cash can allow your dentist to avoid processing costs or third party costs via dental financing. Your dentist may be more amenable to a cash discount if you present the cost savings for the office that are involved.
Discuss prioritizing only the most necessary dental work.Go over your treatment plan with your dentist and prioritize the most necessary dental work first. Look at treatments that are urgent or required and treatments that may be nice to have or not as necessary. You and your dentist should schedule the required treatments first, such as a treatment to prevent further deterioration of your teeth or gums.
- Focusing on the most necessary dental work first will help to spread your dental costs over a longer period of time and ensure you are able to get essential treatments out of the way. You can then work to save for other dental work at a later date.
Consider other dentist rates in your area.If you feel your dentist’s rates are high, you may want to consider shopping around before you make your next dental appointment. You should also look at payment plans offered through other dental offices and compare them to the payment plan offered by your dentist.
- If you feel your dentist’s interest rates are high or his payment plan window is shorter than other dental office plans, you can negotiate with your dentist for a better plan. Your dentist may agree to meet you halfway if you show you have done research into other dental office plans and have found a more competitive rate.
Using Financing and Alternative Dental Providers
Ask your dentist if he offers dental financing.Some dentists offer dental financing through a third party source like a medical loan company. These credit plans work like a personal loan that you take out with your dentist. They are unsecured and you do not need to put up any money as collateral against the loan. Because you do not need to make a down payment for this type of financing, it is considered a high risk option for your dentist. Your dentist may only offer this type of financing if you are a long-standing patient or you have a history of good credit.
- Many dental credit plans are done through financing companies that will try to make the agreement as favorable for them as possible. This means the loan will likely have a high interest rate, possibly even higher than your credit card interest rate.
- Some credit plans will have a no-interest option and may not charge interest for the first one to two years. However, you will need to strictly adhere to the repayment terms of the credit plan and there may be strict penalties if you fail to repay your loan on time after a certain interest free date. Make sure you are aware of the terms of the loan and are prepared to pay back the loan within the allotted timeframe to avoid steep penalties or high interest payments.
Consider financing with a healthcare credit card.Another option is to apply for a healthcare credit card to pay for your dental work. Just make sure that the dentist you are planning to go to will accept this payment option. You can apply for health care credit cards by searching for dental financiers online or by asking your dentist to refer you to a dental financier. These healthcare credit cards work in a similar way as regular credit cards and offer competitive interest rates.
- Many healthcare credit cards require minimum monthly down payments and may offer low interest or no interest options. Healthcare credit cards can be useful if you require emergency dental work or dental work that you would like to get done sooner rather than later. You can then proceed with the dental work and pay off the cost of the dental work over a set period of time.
- Make sure you are aware of the penalties for not paying your minimum monthly payments and are prepared to make your payments on time every month. Treat the healthcare credit card like you would a regular credit card and focus on paying it off as soon as possible to avoid being charged interest.
Make appointments with low cost dental providers in your area.If you are looking to save money on your dental work in the future, you should consider going to a low cost dental provider in your area. Look up low cost dental providers in your state by contacting your local or state health department and asking about their financial assistance programs.
- You can dial 2-1-1 in the U.S. for information and referrals to human services in your area.
Go to a dental school clinic.Another way to get reduced rates on dental work is to make a dental appointment at a local dental school clinic. Many dental school clinics offer reduced dental care by dental students who are trying to gain practical experience and improve their patient treatment skills. As well, dental hygiene schools often offer low-cost preventive dental care as part of their training. This care is supervised by a more experienced dental hygienist or an instructor.
- You can find a list of dental schools at the American Dental Association website: .
QuestionI found a dentist I like, but I only have half of what I need to cover the down payment for my dental procedure. After the procedure, I will have to make a large payment every month until the balance is paid off, which I can't afford. Do you have any other suggestions?
Registered NurseRegistered NurseExpert AnswerFirst, discuss your concerns with your dental office. They may work with you by offering other payment options. If they have no other options and you cannot afford their payment plan, you may want to call some other dentists to compare pricing and payment options.Thanks!
QuestionDo I have to pay my full balance to the dentist?
Registered NurseRegistered NurseExpert AnswerIt depends on the dentist. You should find out from your dentist before having any work done what the payment requirements are and if they offer any payment plans.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if the dentist wants payment in full (thousands) before any work is done and will not do 1/2 at time of service and 1/2 a short time later. Should I find someone else?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou really have to look at it in terms of the total overall costs. If they are fair and reasonable, I see no reason to object to making payment in advance before work is to begin. I would gladly do that if it's a good dentist charging reasonable prices. The dentist is entitled to be paid for his work. Maybe he has had trouble with others failing to pay for services rendered. If you can afford it, there's nothing wrong with going ahead and paying, if you can't, look for someone else.Thanks!
QuestionCan my dentist bill me additional charges after I paid in full in advance per my dentist's request?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThis likely depends upon what the advance payment covered. If your dentist had to do additional work, they could probably bill you for it.Thanks!
QuestionI took out a loan to have dental work done, but have since changed my mind and no work was ever done. Do I still have to pay back the loan?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerRegardless of you changing your mind, if you received the money from the loan, yes, you will have to pay it back.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I find out what finance company a dentist uses?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can ask the dentist or their secretary, and they should be able to tell you.Thanks!
How much time do I have to pay my dentist after receiving a check from my dental insurance company?
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