Stop: Here’s what you must know before you get dental insurance

Stop: Here’s what you must know before you get dental insurance

Consumer Reports has some critical advice for those looking to get dental insurance in 2016.

Your smile is one of the most important things to look after, and many people neglect it — which is why it is so important to make sure you have good dental insurance. Now, Consumer Reports has some important tips to help you make the right decision about what insurance to get.

While not as expensive as general health care, dental care can run in the thousands of dollars is you don’t have good insurance, and unfortunately, almost 40 percent of people in the U.S. don’t have dental insurance at all, according to Consumer Reports.

That can often lead to people skipping preventive care altogether — but that’s a big mistake. It can result in chronic gum infection that can not only result in health problems in your mouth, but also elsewhere — did you know it can increase your risk of a heart attack?

So follow these tips from Consumer Reports to get the right insurance for you.

First, get dental insurance through your work if possible. As with health insurance, going through your work is usually a lot cheaper as your company is likely to be on a bulk plan that saves a lot of money than buying it on your own. They may also offer it as a perk of your job, so ask up front.

Second, consider getting a dental savings plan if you can’t get dental insurance through work. It usually costs an annual fee between $80 and $200, and it gives you access to a large network of dentists. The discounts can be huge — up to 50 percent on procedures.

As a third option, look into a dental HMO. These organizations may charge a few hundred bucks per year, and fewer dentists participate nationwide, but it can save you lots of money on expensive procedures like fillings, root canals, and crowns.

Look into getting coverage through the Affordable Care Act as a fourth option. The ACA will let you purchase optional dental insurance, although right now it is only available if you enroll in a full health plan.

As perhaps a last ditch option, you can simply sock away money for an emergency dental fund. This will allow you to dip into it on occasion if an emergency arises.

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