Financing Your Teeth and Paying Through the Nose12 Nov, 2015
Financing Your Teeth and Paying Through the Nose
Is dental insurance affordable or just a waste of money? You be the judge.
"You can finance many things in life, how about your teeth?"
At first glance, a visit to your dentist office and a trip to the mall seem to have nothing in common. At the dentist you will go through an intensive exam of your oral health which will be filled with sharp, shiny tools and a literal dropping of your jaw. At the mall, the only things bright and shiny are the electronics, toys, shoes and accessories--none of which go in your mouth. The only time you drop your jaw at the mall is when you are thrilled by an amazing deal. So where is the commonality? Both mall stores and dental offices offer financing to help you make your purchases.
A popular trend among dental offices is to offer financing through Capital One, CareCredit from G.E., Coast Dental Advantage from Wells Fargo, and others. These dental financing plans are not any different from a regular credit card. They have interest rates as high as 25.99% (and even higher after a defaulted payment), they have late charges and over the limit fees.
"But is dental insurance affordable?"
With the cost of dental care steadily rising, uninsured patients may have no alternative other than to finance their dental visit. When comparing the average price of dental procedures among five Atlanta dentists, we found that the cost of an initial visit, x-ray and cleaning would total $281.00. Since most dentists recommend that patients have two cleanings per year, you must add an additional $123 per person in fees for the second cleaning. A family of four with one initial visit and one repeat visit per year would have an estimated family expense of $1,616... just for cleanings and x-rays. If one person in that family needs a cavity filled, another needs a root canal and a third needs a crown, using estimates of at least two Atlanta dentists, you have just added $2,015 in additional expenses to your bill for a grand total of $3,631.
Financing this $3,631 bill at 18% with $50 payments each month means it will take over six years to pay off your bill and over $1,757 in interest. You will have paid $5,388 over six years for just one year's worth of dental expenses. Often, that single year of dental expenses will not be the only one you encounter during this six year period, so even more debt may be added to the card before you have paid off your first visit.
"Dental insurance, the affordable alternative"
With dental insurance plans like those offered by Tooth Plans, you can avoid the added expense of credit financing while still ensuring the health, comfort and safety of your family. Dental insurance plans offer you the predictability of a monthly payment, and no need to finance the low copay's and deductibles. Compared to paying off a loan over several years, affordable dental insurance is practically a steal.