Are Dental Insurance Plans Worth the Money?

I went to the dentist this morning.  Before I went, I made sure to check our current dental insurance information on our company’s human resources website. It’s a good thing I did because it had changed from last year.  While I was logged onto the site, I printed out the dental insurance information.  The cost printed out along with the explanation of benefits.  For a whole year of dental insurance that covers myself and husband, we pay $402.24.  It’s only $15 a paycheck, but I really started to wonder if it’s worth having dental insurance any more.  Neither myself or my husband have been to the dentist at all this year (bad, I know!).  So we’re pretty much not using the insurance at all.

Our open enrollment period is coming up soon, and I’m wondering if I should just go ahead and drop the dental insurance.  I do think it’s very important to have your teeth cleaned every six months (and our insurance pays for that 100%) but if we don’t do it, then we’re wasting $402.24.  I don’t think that an exam and cleaning cost $200 (which is what our insurance is worth if we each went to the dentist once a year for a cleaning.)  If an exam and cleaning is, say, $80, it may be worth it to just drop our dental insurance and self insure.  I can save $160 a year to pay for dental expenses.

Of course, if we have cavities that need to be filled, or a crown replaced then it is worth it to have dental insurance, even though we have to pay for half of those procedures out of pocket.  I know that over the course of time that we’ve been going to this dentist, I’ve had a few cavities filled and a crown put on.  Eventually, I’ll have to have that crown replaced (which I just found out today that they only last 10-15 years).  It would be nice to have dental insurance then to cover those items.

Dental insurance is one of those things that I think that we could live without.  I’d be willing to take a chance that we’d need to have a cavity filled and have to pay out of pocket.  Teeth don’t generally have the potential to cost you thousands of dollars each year versus, say cancer, so I’d be more likely to pay for health insurance versus dental insurance.

I don’t know if dental insurance is a normal benefit offered to employees, but I am grateful that I have the option to take advantage of it.  Chances are, I’ll get on Mr. Money to make sure that he makes an appointment to get his teeth cleaned and examined so that at least he’ll take advantage of one of the two cleanings covered by our insurance this year.  I hate wasting money, and I feel like I should have gotten a cleaning 6 months ago to make our dental insurance worth it.

I have a love-hate relationship with insurance.  It’s a necessity for some things (car insurance, homeowners insurance, health insurance) but sometimes I wish there were easier options.

Do you have dental insurance? Do you think I should get dental insurance for next year, or skip it and self insure?

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Sports Car Insurance Rates

The other day I received our car insurance premium bills in the mail (along with our homeowners insurance policy bill, car tag registration on both cars, plus a driver’s license renewal notification!). We put aside money each month in an ING savings account nicknamed “car insurance” so that when the time comes, I transfer the money to our main account and pay the bill. It works out really well for us, and I am glad that we are able to pay six months worth of car insurance at a time. By paying in full for six months, we receive a discount and avoid paying a monthly installment fee.

Da Stang
Creative Commons License photo credit: aresauburn™

Owning and operating a car is a huge expense. Every year, you’ve got depreciation, registration and tags, and car insurance to pay for. Seeing that Mr. Money and I keep getting older, our insurance premiums will hopefully stay the same or decrease a little as our cars age and we supposedly become more responsible. I’ll tell you though- when I opened my car insurance bill, I never expected that our 8 year old car would cost more to insure than our 5 year old vehicle!!

For six months worth of car insurance on our 2005 Ford Freestyle, we paid 255.15.

For six months worth of car insurance on our 2002 Ford Mustang, we paid 305.10!

I think it’s crazy that a vehicle that is three years older and worth less than the other costs more to insure. I guess that’s part of the expense of owning a sports car.

I’ll tell you- the next vehicle I own will either be a hybrid that is a few years old so that I can save money on gas, or it will be a compact car like the Ford Focus. I’m done with owning gas hogs and sports cars! I don’t put enough value into driving a sports car to make it worth the extra expense.

I should be glad that our car insurance is only 305.10 for six months on the Mustang. I know at one point we paid around $500 a month with Geico to insure the vehicle. Of course, I was also 20 years old, so that probably was a huge factor. 🙂 All in all, I’m thankful that our car insurance is now something we can easily afford, and have the means to pay it in full for six months. I’m just still surprised that the older car costs more to insure.

Did the insurance rates affect which type of vehicle you purchased? How much is your car insurance?

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Health Insurance Options?

Let’s talk about health insurance options. Mainly, let’s talk about my health insurance options.  I’m a planner (obviously), and I’m kind of stuck as far as options go.  You see, when we finally have a baby, I want to be a stay at home mom.  It’s one of my hopes and dreams, and I really want it to come true.  There’s one little problem, though.  Mr. Money’s current employer only offers private health insurance and not only would it be really expensive, but I’m afraid I’d be denied coverage due to the cancer scare I had a few years ago (thankfully I didn’t have cancer, but I’m afraid they’ll see oncologist and freak out).

365::150 - so small
Creative Commons License photo credit: brdwatchr1

Uninsured and Pregnant?

My plan is to work until I have the baby so all my maternity care is covered by my current insurance through the bank, and then before I go on maternity leave I will tell my employer that I will not be returning after the baby is born.  That sounds like a good plan to me.

After the baby is born and I’m staying at home, we need health insurance.  It’s something I don’t really want to live without.  These are the options I’ve come up with:

1. Be uninsured.  Not a good idea, but I could save up more money and have that as “health insurance”.  Honestly, I don’t think I could sleep at night, but it’s still an option.

2. Participate in a program like Medi Share.  Of course, I’d have to make sure I met those requirements, but I think I could swing that.

3. Purchase a policy through Mr. Money’s employer and hope we get covered.  It would be really expensive, but at least we’d have coverage.

4. Use COBRA.  I think this would be too expensive too, but it would be good coverage.

5. Mr. Money gets a new job that offers health insurance benefits. (He’s a chef)

6. Become really rich in some way and not have to worry about the cost of health insurance (ha!)

I know that there will be a lot of people that will tell me to just keep working, but I’m trying to come up with some creative options. 🙂

What would you do about health insurance if you were in my shoes?

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