Let’s Fill You In On the Dental Plans/Clinics in Central Jersey

By Tony ThompsonMP900321134

You probably already know that taking care of your teeth and gums is important. At least every six months, everyone should have a check-up and cleaning.

But, if you’re one of those people blessed with genetically perfect, or near-perfect, teeth, you probably don’t think too much about dental care; yet, as you age, it’s common knowledge that maintaining the health of your gums and the bones in your mouth is especially important.

Why is good dental health so important for mature adults?

For verification of this “common knowledge,” I checked with a local Dentist who has practiced in Central New Jersey for over 25 years. He explained that the oral cavity, also known as your mouth, is actually part of your digestive system. So, digestion really begins in the mouth and that’s why dental care is an essential part of good health.

Okay, we know we are supposed to keep up with our dental health, but, these days, how can we afford to do that when it’s become so expensive?

Let’s assume you are not covered by dental insurance. If you can find a Dentist who will do a check-up and cleaning for $100 (fairly inexpensive), then you should allot, at minimum, an annual dental care budget of $200 for a two-person family. But, what if you think you will need more expensive services, such as: filling cavities, simple root canals, or having crowns made? In that case, you should consider purchasing dental insurance.

Website helps you find dental plans

A quick trip to the website www.ehealthinsurance.com  provides some information about the dental plans available in Central New Jersey. (I used 08876 [the Somerville] Zip Code to obtain my information.)

Apparently, the cost of caring for one’s teeth seems to be fairly standard, which is why dental plans do not vary much when it comes to gender or age. There are two basic kinds of plans: the less expensive  Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs ), where the insurance carrier has a network of participating dentists; and, the more expensive, indemnity plans, where you can go to any dentist you choose. See the two tables below for pricing differences between the PPO and indemnity plans.

Available PPO Plans

PPO Plans

Deductible

Annual
Maximum

Individual

Parent,
one child

One Parent,
two children

Two parents,
two children

Plan 1

50

1000

225

380

490

600

Plan 2

50

1000

267

546

825

1092

Plan 3

50

1000

380

668

871

1075

Plan 4

 **150

1500

696

1152

1728

2424

** Multi-year deductible

Available Indemnity Plans

Indemnity Plans

Deductible

Annual
Maximum

Individual

Parent,
one child

Parent,
two children

Two parents,
two children

Plan 5

50

1500

833

1963

1963

2796

Plan 6

100

1000

326

568

739

909

Plan 7

50

1000

383

718

1091

1091

Plan 8

50

1000

306

745

745

1048

Further details about dental plans

  1. In general, these plans do not have a co-pay for preventative services (check-up and cleaning); however, they do have a 50 percent, or higher, co-pay for additional services & dental work.
  2. The prices shown in the two tables above are annual (12 months); they may vary slightly depending upon the ages of the parents and children.
  3. Be sure to inquire as to the specifics of any plan. This is critical if you have a pre-existing (dental) condition. Some plans cover pre-existing conditions, some do not.

The tables above make it clear that purchasing dental insurance is a sure money loser if all you do annually is visit the Dentist for two preventative treatments; in that case, the cheapest insurance outlay is $225.

Low cost dental clinics in Central Jersey

If funds are tight and you really need dental work above and beyond a check-up and cleaning, you can visit The JFK Medical Center Dental Clinic in Edison. The dental clinic there is staffed by volunteer Dentists and General Dentistry residents. All are welcome at the clinic, regardless of person’s ability to pay. To make an appointment, call 732.321.7608.

Lower cost dental services are also offered in New Brunswick, at the Eric B. Chandler Health Center, located at 277 George Street, which offers sliding fee scale dental services, based on the Federal Poverty guidelines.

The clinic is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. To make an appointment, call 732.235.6700.

A secondary location for this health center is also located in New Brunswick, at 123 Church Street; it’s open Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To make an appointment, call 732.235.2052.

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