Why are vision and dental insurance separate from medical insurance?

actually it’s MOST insurances that don’t cover hearing aids. It’s usually only the cadillaic plans that cover hearing aids

How close to the teeth before you have to switch insurances?

For example, I imagine throat cancer would be under medical insurance, correct? What about oral cancer sited exclusively on the tongue? Oral cancer on the gums but not directly threatening a tooth? A similar cancer, but this time one or more teeth will need to be pulled? Oral cancer on the gums that has invaded the pulp of one or more teeth?

I suppose you could do similar feats of insurance gymnastics with guys who get into fistfights and have injuries that involve the teeth, skull, and a lot of soft tissue at the same time. What about cases like those?

I’m not aware of any dentists that treat cancer. If you have cancer, you go to a doctor, end of story.

OK, how about the street fighters? How much of a lacerated and fractured face is dental insurance and how much is medical?

My grandfather’s dentist discovered a lesion on the roof of his mouth and referred him to an oncologist.

As for the OP, the short answer is that dental and optometry insurance isn’t really insurance. Medical insurance is hired by people who might never get sick but don’t want to be caught flatfooted if they do. Vision “insurance” is purchased by people who know they need glasses – other people just don’t go to the eye doctor. Occasionally people will have eye problems that require expensive treatment, but it’s awfully rare. Dental insurance is similar, although not as dramatically differen than medical.


That’s correct, and the same is true of vision insurance.

Remember, insurance companies work based on the average expenses of large numbers of people. The average person has very low medical expenses until quite late in life, but substantial dental expenses from childhood on. Also, many people need glasses starting at an early age, so once again many people have subtstantial vision care expenses starting quite early. Since the patterns of expenses are so different than for regular medical expenses, insurance is separate.

ETA: On Previewing, Cliffy also gave a very good answer.

Medical insurance cover doctors etc.
Dental insurance covers what dentists do.
Eye care insurance covers new glasses.

In fact, my benefit is specifically called “vision benefit” and only covers glasses. Even with Canadian health care, I have to personally pay the $60 or whatever it was last time for the checkup to verify my prescription. Blue Cross only covers the specific purchase of glasses, every to years two a max of $250 or if the prescription changed appreciably before then.

Dentists, IIRC, only touch soft tissue in as far as it matters to tooth health (I.e. sew up after an extraction, kill the nerve tissue in a root canal.

In Canada, supplemental health care (minimal) pays for things Medicare does not cover, like private room if necessary, ambulance cost, TV rental in room, some prosthetics.

So real simple. Different professions, different benefits plans.

Dentists have fancy, state of the art offices because all that equipment is fronted to them by supply companies. You and I (or our employers on our behalf) pay for it. I recall a few dental students the year they were graduating and the huge amount of company propaganda they received and loan offers and term payments should they want to set up their own office.

Doctors, OTOH, don’t usually need much big shiny equipment; anything too advanced you are referred to a specialist who does have (or has a hospital access for) the big toys. The examination tables don’t wear out and nobody offers them new ones with built-in TV every 5 years… So a doctor usually just has those faded charts from drug companies on the wall; basically, all they do 90% of the time for their freebies is prescribe expensive drugs.

I have a problem with my ears. And I just found out this year that my medical insurance will not pay for hearing aids. Very few do. It cost me about $3000 all out of my pocket.