Embracing Dental Insurance as an Independent Worker

When you’re self-employed, you get to revel in a tasty freedom. You choose your own projects, manage your own schedule, and carve out a career path uniquely yours.

But with the freedom of gig work comes the responsibility of taking care of your own benefits, including dental care. While it may not be top of mind, having dental insurance as a gig worker is crucial for maintaining good oral health and avoiding costly surprises down the line.

Filling a cavity in the US can cost well over $1,000, and those who regularly skip their bi-annual cleanings are most likely to get them. A sudden toothache, a dental injury, or a necessary procedure can not only cause physical discomfort but also lead to significant financial stress. This is where dental insurance steps in as your financial shield, transforming potentially large expenses into more manageable, predictable costs.

But dental insurance is about more than just financial protection. Regular dental care is essential for maintaining good overall health. Studies have shown that there's a link between gum disease and an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even certain types of cancer.

By prioritizing your dental health, you're investing in your overall well-being. And as a gig worker, you know that your health is your most valuable asset. Without it, you can't work, and your business suffers. By having dental insurance, you can ensure that you're taking care of your teeth and your overall health, so you can keep on working and thriving.

How dental insurance works

Dental insurance can be a confusing topic, but understanding how it works can help you make informed decisions about your oral health care. In this guide, we'll break down the basics of dental insurance, including key definitions and how it works.

  • Premium: The monthly or annual payment you make to maintain your dental insurance coverage.
  • Deductible: The amount you must pay out-of-pocket for dental services before your insurance coverage kicks in.
  • Copay: A fixed amount you pay for a specific dental service, such as a cleaning or filling.
  • Coinsurance: A percentage of the dental service cost that you pay after meeting your deductible.
  • Maximum Out-of-Pocket (MOOP): The maximum amount you'll pay for dental services in a year, including deductibles, copays, and coinsurance.
  • Network: A group of dentists who have agreed to provide discounted services to patients with a specific insurance plan.
  • Preventive Care: Routine dental services, such as cleanings and exams, that are often covered 100% by insurance.
  • Basic Care: Services like fillings and extractions that are typically covered at a lower percentage than preventive care.
  • Major Care: More complex procedures, such as crowns and bridges, that are often covered at a lower percentage than basic care.

A step-by-step guide

  1. Choose a Plan: Select a dental insurance plan that fits your needs and budget. Consider factors like premium cost, deductible, and coverage levels for different services. It can be enticing to choose the one with the cheapest premiums, but be sure to review the coverage and network. Oftentimes, especially if you have expected dental procedures coming up, it can save you money to choose a lower deductible plan that has higher monthly premiums
  2. Pay Your Premium: Make regular payments to maintain your coverage.
  3. Get Dental Care: Visit a dentist in your network for routine or necessary services.
  4. Meet Your Deductible: Pay the deductible amount for the year before your insurance coverage begins. This is often confusing to track, so save Explanation of Benefits (EOBs) and find providers with mobile apps that help you clearly understand what is going toward your deductible.
  5. Pay Your Copay or Coinsurance: Pay the fixed copay or a percentage of the service cost (coinsurance) for each visit.
  6. Reach Your MOOP: Once you've reached the maximum out-of-pocket amount, your insurance covers 100% of eligible services for the rest of the year.
  7. Stay Within Your Network: To get the best rates, visit dentists within your insurance network.

How to choose a dental plan

Selecting the right dental insurance plan, however, requires careful consideration. You want a plan that's flexible, affordable, and aligns with your unique needs. Consider factors like coverage limits, deductibles, co-payments, and the network of dentists. Some plans might offer additional benefits, like coverage for orthodontic work, which could be important depending on your personal needs.

To see options from Mymo’s partners, check out DentalPlans.com. They’re the leading dental plan marketplace, and offer 25+ plans that are accepted at over 70% of dentists nationwide.

The bottom line

In conclusion, as you embrace the freedom and responsibility of being an independent worker, don't let dental health take a backseat. Investing in dental insurance is not just about protecting your smile; it's about ensuring your health, financial stability, and continued success in your independent career journey. Like all good things in life, a little foresight goes a long way – and your future self will thank you for it.

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