Although dental care in the UK is covered by the National Health Service, in many cases it doesn`t come free. Unless you`re pregnant ,have just become a new mother, you`re under 18 or you`re claiming benefits you will have to pay towards your treatment. Add to this the current situation where many people find it increasingly difficult to even register with a dentist for NHS treatment and it`s easy to understand why the prospect of private dental care is becoming attractive.
It is of course possible to simply pay for private treatment as and when it`s required, by settling the bill directly with your dentist. However, many people are worried about the potential high cost of treatment they might need at some point in the future and are reluctant to risk facing a large unexpected dental bill.
There are two ways in which you can deal with this. Either you can take out an insurance policy to cover you for all or some of the dental charges you incur, or you can opt into to what`s called a capitation policy.
With an insurance policy, you will have to pay the dentist for the treatment you have received and then you will make a claim to your insurer for the amount, or a percentage of the amount. Policies usually cover maintenance treatments, such as your six monthly checks up and X rays, as well as other procedures such as extractions and fillings. You may be covered for both private and NHS charges, depending on your policy. However, any cosmetic work, such as teeth whitening, will generally not be covered by this sort of policy. You can have treatment with any dentist and you won`t usually need to have an initial assessment before taking out the policy. On the other hand, it will probably be the case that you won`t be able to make a claim for the first few months of your policy.
There are many different insurance schemes. Premium levels vary widely as do the levels of dental care that can be claimed for.
With a capitation plan, you`re signing up to pay a regular amount each month for dental treatment. The dentist you go to must be registered with a capitation scheme. Capitation plans are really set up for preventative dentistry and you`ll often have to have an assessment. If any treatment is required, you will have to have this before you are accepted. The premium you end up paying on a capitation scheme will depend on how healthy or otherwise your teeth are, as well as the individual pricing structure for the dentist with whom you`re registered.
There`s a great deal of variation in treatment costs between different dentists.
At the end of the day, deciding on the appropriate way of financing your dental care is part of the range of financial decisions you`ll need to consider. Just like getting the right Mortgage, it pays to shop around and get the product that works for you and your circumstances.
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