If you’re looking for a way to secure dental financing, a dental savings plan may be the best option for you.
Dental savings plans are a type of membership plan wherein you pay a yearly fee, hovering somewhere around $150, and in return, you receive discounted dental services. These discounts may be applied to preventative dentistry like cleanings and checkups, or on restorative care like root canals and crowns.
Savings plans aren’t the same as insurance plans, mainly because they have no waiting periods, no annual maximums, and no deductibles. Also, savings plans don’t actually cover the cost of your care like insurance plans do. Instead, they provide discounts for dental work.
Stay tuned as we go through all you need to know about dental savings plans, including:
- The benefits of dental savings plans
- The main components of savings plans
- Which is best: insurance plans or savings?
- How to find a savings plan
We hope that after reading this article you can make the best decision for your oral health.
Table of contents
- 1 What is a dental savings plan?
- 2 How do dental discount plans work?
- 3 Dental savings plan reviews
- 4 Dental savings plans for seniors
- 5 Conclusion
- 6 FAQs
What is a dental savings plan?
Dental savings plans are an alternative to traditional dental insurance. Dental insurance may not fit with your budget or your oral health needs, but it's still important to have some way to finance your dental care, especially when you consider that 41% of adults have medical or dental debt.
A dental savings plan is a membership that gives you a discounted fee for dental services. To be a member of a savings plan, you need to sign up through a plan provider. This is often the same provider of standard dental insurance plans.
When you sign up, you pay an annual fee and you receive a membership card, much like an insurance card. When you visit participating dentists who are part of the savings plan network, you receive discounted dental work.
What is the difference between a dental savings plan and a dental discount plan?
The answer is simple — there is no difference! A dental savings plan is exactly the same as a dental discount plan. You will see the terms used interchangeably to mean the same thing.
So from here on out, to help you become accustomed to seeing both terms, we will use them interchangeably in this article.
What is the difference between a dental savings plan and dental insurance?
Dental savings (discount) plans don’t cover your dental costs. They provide discounted fees when you go to a participating dentist, and with dental savings plans, there are the following features:
- No deductibles
- No waiting periods
- No annual maximums
Dental insurance plans work by actually paying for a portion of your dental costs. However, before your plan will cover your costs, you usually have a deductible—the money you pay out-of-pocket before insurance kicks in.
There is also usually an annual maximum limit, and sometimes a lifetime limit, which means that after your insurance plan has paid a certain amount, it won’t cover any more services.
Have a look at an example of a deductible and an annual maximum:
You want to get a dental implant that costs $10,000. Your deductible is $1,000. That means you need to pay $1,000 out of pocket for your implant.
Once you’ve paid $1,000, your insurance will help cover costs. However, that doesn’t mean that your insurance plan will pay the remaining $9,000. Especially for expensive procedures like implants, insurance is only like to cover a percentage of the remaining costs.
You want to get a dental implant that costs $10,000. You’ve already paid your deductible of $1,000, so your insurance has kicked in to begin helping to cover the remaining $9,000 of your implant.
However, your annual maximum is $2,000. That means that your insurance will only cover the costs of your implant up to $2,000. You would then be responsible for paying the remaining $7,000.
With a dental savings plan, there are no deductibles or annual maximums. Instead, depending on your plan, you might get 25% off of your procedure. That would mean that if your implant costs $10,000, you would pay $7,500.
In this scenario, you’re paying a bit more for your implants if you have a savings plan than if you have insurance, but you’re also most likely paying less for your savings plan membership than you are in monthly premiums for a dental plan that covers implants.
The point is, neither option is inherently better. It’s all about choosing the option that suits your lifestyle, budget, and dental needs best. There are some treatments, like cosmetic work for instance, that dental insurance won't even cover, but you can still get discounts on with a dental savings plan.
In the video below you can see Dr. Mark Mendiola, DDS explain the benefits of having a savings plan. He even suggests that a dental savings plan will help you save more than you would with dental insurance.
What is the difference between a dental savings plan and a dental payment plan?
There really aren't many similarities between a dental discount plan and a dental payment plan, except that both can help make it easier to pay for dental work. A payment plan is an agreement you make with your dentist and a third-party financier to pay for a dental procedure in installments.
Coming back to the implant example — if you need a dental implant, but you won’t be able to pay a lump sum of $10,000, you may be able to arrange with your dentist to pay in installments. That could mean paying around $800 per month for 12 months.
Depending on the agreement, your payment plan could either include interest or be interest-free, and it’s possible that your interest rates could rise if you don’t pay back your treatment within the agreed-upon timeframe.
How do dental discount plans work?
Dental savings plan reviews
The best dental savings plan for you is the one that best fits your budget while covering the dental work you need. Let’s have a look at some of the best plans available and their main features:
Flossy dental savings plan
This first plan is from Flossy, which is our first pick for dental discount plans. That's because they offer discounts of up to 50% and there are no membership fees. Plus it's easy to sign up for Flossy through their app, website, or over the phone.
Flossy Dental Savings Plan
Dentists in PA, NJ, MI, AZ, NM
Up to 50% off treatment
Cost for a root canal
As low as $690
Cigna dental discount plan
Cigna Dental Savings Program
87,000 participating dentists
Up to 34% off dental services
Cost for 2 adult exams
$148 (Compare to $228 full cost)
Cost for 1 complete denture
$1,920 (Compare to $2,872 full cost)
Humana dental discount plan
Humana Dental Savings Plus
260,000 participating dentists
Up to 40% for basic services
Up to 20%
Delta dental discount plan
Delta Dental Savings Plan
14,000 participating dentists
Up to 40% for all services
Up to 35%
Up to 60% generic
Careington dental discount plan
Careington 500 Dental Savings Plan
Up to 20%
Root canal cost
$565 (compared to $1,479)
Dental cleaning cost
$44 (compared to $134)
Dental savings plans for seniors
Dental discount plans for seniors may be the best option, depending on the oral health and budget of the senior in question.
If you are a senior with a dental insurance plan and you expect to need extensive dental work done in a year but you know that the costs will fall within your insurance plan’s annual maximum, then it sounds like the insurance plan that you already have is a good fit.
- If you don’t have insurance
- You can’t afford to pay the average of $30/month that most dental insurance plans cost
- And you have been keeping up on your oral health
— Then you may find that a dental savings plan is the best option for you.
How do you sign up for a dental discount plan?
Signing up for a dental savings plan is relatively quick and easy, especially because there are no waiting periods and no strange jargon to worry about like ‘deductibles’, ‘maximums’, and ‘copay’.
You can ask your dentist directly if they offer saving plans, or you can head to Dentalinsurance.com. They make it fast and easy to browse the best plans in your area without giving out sensitive information.
If you find a discount plan that you like, you can sign up directly from the website. Before you sign up, make sure that if there’s a specific dentist or clinic you’d like to attend, they are participating in the network.
If you want a way to save money on dental work but insurance plans are too expensive or too complicated, you may want to consider a dental savings plan.
Dental savings plans, also called dental discount plans, are often offered by the same companies who offer dental insurance; however, they work quite differently than typical insurance plans.
With a savings or discount plan, you don’t have to pay any deductibles and there are no annual maximums or waiting periods. Instead, you pay an annual membership fee and in return, you get discounted dental services.
There are pros and cons to dental discount plans, but we hope this article helps you make the best decision for you and your smile.
If you’d like to get started searching for a plan now, you can go to dentalinsurance.com. They make it easy to compare and enroll in discount plans across the country.
What are the best dental discount plans available?
The answer to this question will vary from person to person. However, some of the best plans — meaning largest network and top discounts — are companies you know, like Delta Dental and Humana. You can find these by going to dentalinsurance.com.
Is a dental savings plan better than insurance?
Savings plans aren’t necessarily better than insurance, and insurance plans aren’t better than savings plans. It comes down to each individual’s financial and health needs.
Are dental discount plans worth it?
If you can’t afford insurance, or you don’t like the idea of insurance, dental discount plans are worth it because you can save a lot of money on routine and restorative dental services. Anything that makes it easier to pay for essential dental work (as long as there aren’t hidden fees or high interest rates) is a smart investment in your health.
Can you use a dental discount plan with insurance?
Although you can’t use your dental insurance and your savings plan for the same procedure, you may be able to reduce out-of-pocket dental costs once you’ve reached your annual maximum. Your dentist can help you coordinate in this case.
Are there dental discount plans in my state?
All of the best dental discount plans for families, individuals, and seniors are available in most states around the country. Visit your state page to find more information about these plans.
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Main, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
CDC.gov: Delay or nonreceipt of needed medical care, nonreceipt of needed prescription drugs, or nonreceipt of needed dental care during the past 12 months due to cost, by selected characteristics: United States, selected years 1997–2012. Consulted 14th June 2021.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Archived consumer price index detailed reports. Consulted 14th June 2021.
Kff.org: Health Care Debt in the U.S.: The Broad Consequences of Medical and Dental Bills. Consulted 11th July 2021.