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Dental insurance could increase patients’ bills

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by Jan Harris
Dental insurance could increase patients’ bills

Dental treatment is expensive, prompting many people to take out insurance to ensure they aren’t faced with a large, unexpected bill.

However, research carried out by consumer group Which? suggests that this may be a false economy as dental insurance could actually end up costing patients more.

The organisation tested dental insurance policies and dental payment plans against two treatment scenarios, and compared the treatment options available privately and through the NHS.

While the majority of insurance policies set no limit on treatment payouts for work done at NHS clinics, they cap payouts for private dental care.

For one of the scenarios it tested, Which? Money found that a private patient who needed expensive treatment over a year could end up paying 84 per cent of a £707 bill for treatment.

The organisation concluded that people in good dental health are likely to save money by simply attending regular check-ups with an NHS dentist, rather than taking out dental insurance.

However, it found that NHS-only insurance policies may be cost effective for people who are likely to need dental treatment on a regular basis.

The report said: “For people with relatively good dental health, it’s hard to see the case for investing in either dental insurance or a dental payment plan.

If you’re happy to use an NHS dentist, you’re likely to be better off paying in cash.

For those who fear they are more likely to need regular dental treatment, dental insurance may offer good value – especially the NHS-only policies, most of which have no limit on the treatment pay-outs.

A separate survey by whatclinic.com reveals substantial differences in the cost of private dental check ups across the UK.

The average price of a private check-up is £74 in Edinburgh while in Glasgow it is just £27.

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News posted: October 24, 2012

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