One of the spillover effects from the Affordable Care Act is that the insurance companies are streamlining not only their health insurance plans but their ancillary insurance products like dental and vision. Anthem Blue Cross has just released new dental and vision plans that are straight forward and easy to understand. The older individual and family plans of Dental Blue Basic, Dental Blue Enhanced and Dental Select HMO will still be offered.
Simplified dental plans
Anthem’s new Dental Prime come in three plan levels A, B and C. All plans are Dental Preferred Provider Organizations (DPPO) which means you are free to switch dentists any time you like. Blue Cross has also included an optional vision insurance plan that can be purchased along with the dental.
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Dental Prime Plan A economy model
Dental Prime Plan A is pretty much your economy model of insurance plans. It is going to cover all your preventive services like cleanings, exams, x-rays with no deductible. No other services are covered, but you’ll pay the Anthems’ negotiated rate for dental services if you need them. If your dental health is excellent, it’s a toss up over whether the cost of the insurance is worth it in the long run. Monthly premiums range from approximately $22 to $30 per month depending on your zip code in California.
Dental Prime Plan B balanced benefits
Dental Prime Plan B includes all preventive services at no charge and then switches to an 80/20 or 50/50 cost sharing percentage. There is a $50 deductible and a six to twelve month waiting period for some services like root canals and extractions. Monthly premiums will average between $34 and $45 per month.
Dental Prime Plan C extra cushion
Dental Prime Plan C is a mirror of Plan B except it has a higher annual maximum calendar amount. Plan B has maximum annual dollar amount of $1,000 while Plan C tops out at $1,250. If you are prone to expensive or recurring dental treatment the extra cushion might be worth it. Monthly premiums range from $43 to $57 per month.
Flat Family Rate
By far the best new plan feature is Anthem’s new family discount plan. For one flat monthly rate the whole family is covered. The way it is priced, any family of four or more will get the best discount. There is a slight break for two and a slight penalty, or price increase, if there are only three members of the household. If there are two adults and a child, the best bet would be to have the child covered through one of the new Covered California children dental plans.
Covered California Children’s Dental Plans
Anthem Blue Cross will be offering children’s dental plans through Covered California. The Dental Prime Plan B is roughly equivalent to the Covered California High Plan benefits and cost sharing. The High Plan monthly child premiums will range from $25 to $39 through out California but are eligible for the Advance Payment Tax Credit which could lower the overall cost for families.
The Anthem Blue Cross Covered California children’s dental plans look to be less expensive than the new Dental Prime individual plans. However, the dilemma for families of large households is whether to select the one flat Family rate of the Dental Prime or break up the coverage with the children in a Covered California plan. That flat rate could prove to make the monthly dental premium per person less expensive than if all the children were signed up under the Covered California children’s dental plan. Some how I think Anthem Blue Cross knew what they were doing when they built the family pricing model to probably compete with the Covered California dental insurance.
Anthem Blue Cross family vision plans
New for this year are affordable individual vision plans. With the increased competition in the new health insurance exchange or marketplace, Covered California, Anthem Blue Cross has decided to offer a vision plan that has been predominantly only available in the group market. Blue View Vision is a straight forward vision insurance plan with exams every twelve months, frames every 24 months and a set $20 copay for most services.
Vision plans, one rate for the state
Similar to the Dental Prime, Blue View Vision allows you to see a non-network provider and they tell you in advance how much the reimbursement will be. The premium levels of Individual, Individual + 1, and Family also mirror the Dental Prime plans. Unlike Dental Prime, the monthly premium doesn’t vary by zip code. Monthly premiums range from $8 per person up to $23 per month for a family.
Simple is good
Overall, the new dental and vision plans are an improvement over the older plans. While some of the older plans some extra benefits, they became difficult to compare with different cost sharing rules and networks. Simple is always the best, but if you want straight forward dental insurance the Anthem Blue Cross Dental Prime plans will be easy to understand and remember.
From the Anthem Blue Cross News Release
Dental product basics Dental Prime is great for consumers looking for affordable dental coverage. Three plan options offer choices ranging from a plan covering only preventive services to a comprehensive plan.
All plans include:
- Exams, cleanings and X-rays covered 100%
- No waiting period for diagnostic and preventive services
- A benefit for a brush biopsy which helps detect oral cancer
- An extra cleaning each year for those who are pregnant or living with diabetes
- A 5% discount is offered when the premium is paid annually.
And there are three levels of coverage available – individual, individual + 1, and family.
A large network of dentists
Our Prime network offers consumers more than 9,300 dentists and specialists accessible from more than 33,400 access points in Nevada, and almost 142,000 access points nationally.
Vision rider basics
More good news! Blue View VisionSM rider along with Dental Prime. Blue View Vision provides coverage for routine vision care services from network and non-network vision providers. Members will get an amount of money to put toward the purchase of glasses or contacts from an in-network provider. And, with Blue View Vision’s additional savings program, members can save money even after using up yearly benefits. Please note that the vision option is only available when packaged with Dental Prime.
There are more than 30,000 eye doctors and more than 25,000 locations in the Blue View Vision network. It includes national retail stores like LensCrafters®, Sears Optical SM, Target Optical®, and JCPenney® Optical.
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