If you have a dentist you like and your employer’s dental insurance policy changes I recommend you do the following:

  1. Most Important: Avoid any insurance, no matter how cheap it is, that forces you to see only dentists on its list. That’s right. If the insurance essentially forces you to see a specific dentist or group of dentists, walk away (and complain to your employer).
  2. Most reasonable dental insurance allows you to have treatment “out of network.” This means you can still see your dentist and the insurance will still pay for your care. Obviously there may be a difference to reimbursement. You should look at the hard numbers before determining that it is not actually more cost effective sticking with the dentist who knows you the best.
  3. Talk with your dentist or the dentist’s office manager. Ask them to help you understand how this change in insurance will affect you financially.
  4. Find out what the cost difference will actually be based on your actual dental needs. It doesn’t really matter what things might cost if you never need them.
  5. Find out why your employer switched your dental insurance. You may find that the quality of your insurance is worse and that it covers less care in general. The less the policy covers, the less significant it will be in the cost of your care should you need very much. You are often better off sticking with the dentist and dental office that knows you best and working out a reasonable financial plan.
  6. Remember what dental insurance is. It is not a contract between you and your dentist. It is a method of reducing dental cost as a perk for working for a particular employer. Enjoy its benefits but don’t let it run your life.