Is there any change insurance companies will start picking up the slack and pay for dental implants? I wear an ill-fitting partial and am just plain sick of it but my dentist said that insurance doesn’t cover them and it would be thousands for me to pay for treatment out-of-pocket. I have been saving, but at this rate, it could be years before I have a full smile again. I’m considering just having a new denture made, but that would use up some of my savings too. I’m wondering if I should hold out a bit longer or just go ahead and get going on something.
While there are some states pushing for better insurance mandates, nothing has materialized yet. Sadly, nobody can predict the future either. That’s a shame because, as you know, teeth aren’t just there to look pretty. You need them to function well too. Unfortunately, most insurance companies are only concerned about the minimum standard of care, meaning if another type of treatment will be “good enough” that’s all they’re going to pay for.
Based on how slow things have been moving, it’s not likely there will be a major victory anytime soon either, and that’s probably what you should build your strategy around. That in mind, there are a few things you can do.
Although dental insurance plans don’t usually cover the implant, itself, they routinely cover the crown that sits on top—the portion that looks like your tooth. They might also cover other portions, such as bone grafting if it’s necessary. Ask your dental office to submit a preauthorization or pre-determination to your insurance company so you know exactly what they’ll cover.
Occasionally, medical plans will offer some kind of coverage, particularly as it relates to surgery or anesthesia. You can also submit paperwork to your medical insurance company to find out if they might help.
You may be a candidate for more affordable implants or something like the all-on-4 procedure. Depending on your case, your dentist may be able to provide you with a denture that’s anchored in place by dental implants. It’s less expensive because fewer implants are placed than replacing all the teeth with them, but it provides a more secure and comfortable fit than a traditional denture alone does.
Don’t overlook things like payment plans or using a health savings account. Talk to your office about ways to make treatment more affordable or if you can potentially stagger appointments or break things up to fit into your budget better. You can also explore secondary insurance plans to see if you can get more of your treatment covered. Just be on the lookout for waiting periods and exclusions for preexisting conditions when you shop to ensure the coverage will really help when you need it.
This blog is sponsored by Dr. Steve Sirin, a dental implant provider in Elgin, Illinois.