Why is dental coverage so unbelievably crappy?

Don’t know about other countries, but here in the U.S., dental coverage is pretty much a joke, at least compared to medical. Sure, if I’m just going in for cleanings, my insurance pays 80% of the cost, which is somewhat reasonable. But anything beyond that, you’d better have some serious savings - my boss just threw down $8,000 for dental work. I don’t understand why this is the status quo - even my parents’ insurance was basically the same when I was a kid. Yet with my medical insurance, I can go in for major surgery and spend a few days in the hospital and it won’t cost me jack shit. Anybody who’s suffered tooth/mouth pain knows it’s not something you can just ignore, so why has there been no push for more comprehensive dental coverage? Any ideas? I can’t imagine why it would be prohibitively expensive for employers when medical insurance covers far more expensive procedures.

It depends.
Don’t remember the last time I wrote a check to my dentist.

ain’t that the tooth.

It seems to me that Health Coverage appears to be an afterthought of governments and other agencies. Imagine if the money spent on armies and weapons were available to be spent on the health and well-being of citizens. Impossible, I know. Humans are just too aggressive as a race.

It’s so that dentists can endure such animosity that their profession, out of all the medical fields, leads the pack in terms of suicide rates. At least that’s the common wisdom, before the Master speaks.

Because no one would pay the premiums if they covered all dental expenses. Major dental problems are far more common than major medical problems; everybody has them. To cover everyone’s dental issues would require a big increase in premiums, which no one would pay. It would be like getting insurance against your shoes wearing out; there is a 100% chance of it happening, so the premiums would be the cost of new shoes, plus a profit for the insurance company. Just doesn’t make sense. Neither does dental insurance.

Fear Itself nailed it. I would add that major medical problems can strike anyone unexpectedly, but I think there is less uncertainty in dental. Some people are genetically advantaged to having trouble-free teeth; if you’ve made it to adulthood without needing dental work besides regular cleaning, chances are that that pattern will continue for you throughout your lifetime. Those people are not going to buy dental insurance, so the pool of insured people available for cost-sharing is smaller and comparatively more prone to problems.

Also, the upside risks are lower. To spend $8,000 on dental work is a serious bite, to be sure, but you’re never going to be at risk of spending $800,000, like you might for a major medical issue.

Fear itself nailed it.

But to follow the OP’s train of thought…my housing and food costs are an exorbitant amount of my monthly income. Why hasn’t someone come up with insurance that would cover these costs. Seriously, food and shelter are just as much a fundamental right as health care.

ETA: Teeth and gum pain is miniscule compared to living outdoors and suffering from hunger.

There’s also the fact that people can (and do) just have their teeth pulled.

**Fear Itself **nailed it.
But I just wanted to tell the OP good luck; we’re all counting on you.

Moderator Note

Fixed typo in thread title - detal -> dental

Y’all saying that more people than not have some kind of major dental problem every couple years +/- ??

Really? I guess I’m one of the lucky ones. I had no idea.

Dental coverage is design as preventive coverage. The coverage for dental work is an afterthought.

Major dental problems are not as expensive as any major medical problems, so more people can afford them, even if they don’t have insurance.

Most dental coverage fully covers 6 month cleanings and check up. If you get your teeth cleaned every six months and perform daily brushing and flossing, the chances of major dental procedures greatly reduces.

We have two levels. The better level covers pretty much everything, up to $2000 a year. BUT, you are required to buy in for three years.

This is fair, as what happens with dental is that people go along, neglecting their teeth for a decade (with no insurance), then would sign up for a year, get all their work done, then go back to neglect and no insurance. No way to run a business off that.

My dental coverage is AWESOME.

Here in Canada, of course, health care is covered by the government with a thousand times less administrtive hassle compared to the USA. Since employers do not have to spring for basic medical coverage, they can spend benefits dollars on supplemental coverage like prescription and dental, still not covered by our medicare. A lot of emplyers offer moderately good dental covereage - 100% for basic items like fillings and semi-annual cleanings. More in-depth (i.e. expensive) work like braces for the kids, bridges and crown, etc. are partly covered - in my case, for example - 50%. They pay a dental association fee schedule amount, and if the dentist charges more, it is from the patient’s pocket.

So that’s part of it - your employer is (should be) shelling out a fortune already for your “you can keep it” American medical coverage. Adding dental and other benefits may turn out to be very expensive, compared to other civilized countries with universal health care.

Good for you, but your country has problems too PAL.

As far as I know, dental coverage is pretty standard in health care packages here in Holland. I think even orthodontists are covered (for a large part at least). As with normal health care: it just is not an issue that people think of. You pay your monthly premium (which isn’t all that much) and if something goes wrong, you’ll get fixed.

I figured there’d be some kind of straw man argument, so thanks for that.

I get that it’s mostly for financial reasons, but I do have to question the prevalence of dental emergencies over expensive medical procedures. But hey, I haven’t seen the actuarial tables, so I’m probably wrong.