Health insurance is a hot topic these days but dental insurance can be just as complicated and as important. Oral health care has been linked to conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Traditional dental plans cover individuals or families. Buying into a dental plan generally reduces out-of-pocket expenses depending on which services are covered at 100%. Major services are generally covered at a certain percentage. The cost of these plans depends on the services within the scope of the dental plan. Blue Shield Dental Insurance offers different solutions for dental care through HMO, PPO and SmileNet.
Blue Shield Dental Insurance HMO and PPO offer hundreds to thousands of choices for the selection of a dentist in your location. HMO’s cover preventive services (cleanings and x-rays), basic services (fillings, extractions), and major surgical and restorative services (crowns, root canals), and orthodontics (braces). HMO’s have no claim forms that need to be sent in and has predictable out of pocket expenses. PPO’s offer much of the same as the HMO but you have the choice of going out-of-network for dental care, which may incur more out-of-pocket expenses, or staying in-network. PPO’s do not require a referral form if you need a specialist unlike an HMO. Dentist in HMO and PPO programs are contracted with the insurance company to accept a reduced fee.
SmileNet is a discount dental program by Blue Shield Dental Insurance. Currently it is only offered in California. Enrollment is easy and requires no waiting periods or health questionnaires. There is no disqualification for pre-existing conditions. There are also no claim forms or annual deductibles. Pre-approved dentists accept a discounted fee which is collected at the time of service. Individual policies are $80.00/year and family policies are $120.00/year. A one time $20.00 administrative fee is paid to the insurance company. The SmileNet policy is renewed once a year.