Oral & Vision Health Blog

Why is Dental Insurance Separate from Medical Insurance?

You just enrolled in your company's benefits package and have an appointment to visit the dentist. Once you arrive at the office, you discover your plan doesn't cover your visit. Apart from being upset, you're probably asking yourself, shouldn't medical insurance cover your whole body's health? The mouth is part of your body, after all. 

So, why is dental insurance separate from medical insurance? Here, we will discuss why your teeth are covered separately from the rest of the body.

Key Takeaways:

  • Dental and medical insurance are separate because dental and medical fields have been separated for a long time.
  • Although dentistry and medicine are different, they are essential to overall health.
  • Medical insurance plans typically do not cover routine dental services such as cleanings and checkups.
  • Dental insurance plans offer coverage for basic dental services and may cover additional services.
  • Having medical and dental insurance is highly recommended for financial protection against unexpected medical and dental expenses.

Separation of fields

The dental and medical fields have been separate for quite a long time. They remain that way today. The medical field never accepted dentistry as part of their practice, so dentists had to make their way. With separate schools and a different practice, it's common for them to have individual insurance coverage. Dental insurance came to be about a century after medical insurance. 

Dental carriers are specific to the dental practice.

The rift between dentistry and medicine requires specialization when creating cost-effective insurance policies. Your medical carrier is familiar with forming relationships with hospitals and doctor's offices. This helps provide you with the best coverage for your money. Dental carriers do the same thing by forming relationships with an extensive network of dentists. This way, you will have a policy that gives you a choice between multiple dentists in your area. Dental carriers also know how to bargain with dentists for the best discounts.

Insurance companies view dental and medical differently

Medical insurance must account for the unpredictable illnesses a person can face. Depending on the issue, it could cost them considerably. On the other hand, dental coverage encourages preventive care, such as checkups and teeth cleanings. To that end, an insurance company will likely have to pay less when something goes wrong with your teeth. 

Why dental also matters

Even though dentistry and medicine are separate, it's clear that they are both essential in overall health. Many people feel they can get by without dentist visits and dental insurance. However, poor oral hygiene is linked to conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Routine visits to the dentist will help your overall health just as checkups with your doctor will. So, do yourself a favor and take advantage of dental coverage. It will pay for routine procedures like cleanings and help with the cost of filling cavities. Taking care of your teeth now will prevent future problems that will cost you money. 

Do Medical Insurance Plans Cover Any Dental Services?

Medical insurance plans typically do not cover routine dental services such as cleanings and checkups. However, some plans may offer limited coverage for necessary dental services due to a medical condition or injury. Reviewing your specific insurance plan to understand what dental services may be covered is essential. 

What do dental insurance plans typically cover?

Dental insurance plans typically cover basic dental services such as routine checkups, cleanings, and X-rays. Some plans may also include fillings, extractions, and emergency dental care coverage. However, coverage can vary between plans and insurance providers. So, it's essential to review the specific details to understand what services are covered and any applicable limitations or exclusions.

Should I have medical and dental insurance?

Having medical and dental insurance is highly recommended. It provides financial protection against unexpected medical and dental expenses. It can also help you get the necessary treatment without worrying about the high costs. Carefully review and compare different insurance plans to find one that best suits your needs and budget.

To learn more about dental plans, get your free guide on the differences between DHMO and DPPO plans to see what works best for you.


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