By Cari Griffo for Beyond Borders Dental
If you have experienced using insurance for major dental treatment, you can vouch for the fact that it covers very little. The yearly allowance is capped around $1,500, which doesn’t even fully cover one single crown in many parts of the U.S., and that’s after meeting your deductible. It is shocking to know most often the same crown can cost less than a co-pay through dental tourism in Mexico. The average 3-unit bridge is $4,000 in the U.S., and even with dental insurance, you are looking at a huge expense. Most people are unaware that when their insurance is maxed out, it won’t even pay for preventative services such as cleanings and check-up X-rays.
One would ask if dental insurance is worth having. It can be in cases where dental insurance is an employee benefit and if you are in good dental health. Many patients can go for years without needing major work, with insurance covering bi-annual cleanings and exams one hundred percent, along with a high percent/low co-pay coverage for fillings. However, as we age, existing dental work begins to break down and suddenly one finds themselves needing to use their insurance like never before. Unfortunately, after many premiums later, when one needs to use their insurance the most, it fails them.
Surprisingly, Canadians do not have oral health care included in their Canadian Health Act and must receive dental treatment through privatized offices. One in six Canadians cannot afford dental treatment and the majority do not have dental insurance. The U.S. also does not provide oral health care for their elders with Medicare. Only 12 percent of the elderly in the US has dental insurance. Whether in Canada or the U.S., aging increases your need for dentistry, yet accessibility to care decreases. With the lack of government programs and limitations of dental insurance, dental tourism might be the only assurance to be afforded.
Note: If you have dental insurance, it’s worth checking into your dental insurance company to see what their reimbursement policy is for receiving care in Mexico. There are many dental offices who have English speaking staff to fill out the necessary paperwork in order for you to file your claim. Also, check with the Mexico dental office and see if they will file the insurance claim for you. There are some that are familiar with Delta, United Concordia, Cigna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and others, if so, they would be happy to help.