There is an old saying that goes, roughly: “If something seems too good to be true, it probably is”. The essential point covered by this saying is that if you have to stop to think about how something good can possibly be free of many (or even any) obligations, then you’ve probably just identified the problem. There have to be hidden costs somewhere, or what is on offer is not as wonderful as it was first promised to be. One way or the other, someone’s hiding something, right?
This is the reaction many people have when it comes to dental discount cards. The story goes that you buy the card, and then when you need dental treatment within the period covered by the card, you get it at a vastly reduced rate. And when you start to think about how many treatments you might need to have over the course of a specified period, it does start to seem unrealistic that all of these treatments could be covered by that modest one-off payment you made at the beginning.
It does seem in some cases as though, to make the sums add up, someone must be losing out as part of the dental discount plan. And when someone is losing out, isn’t that always likely to be the customer? So the impression goes, but when the numbers are all added up, it generally turns out that dental discount cards make sense for everyone involved; they can offer out more of the pie, so to speak, because they increase its size.
Dentists are happy with dental discount cards because the companies themselves make payments to the dentist from the money that they make selling the service. Not only this, but their business, and the business of the plan provider, will benefit from the good publicity that always comes with offering a service at a reasonable price. So although they may have seemed to be losing out from the lower costs they are charging customers, they are more than adequately compensated – typically, their surgery will be advertised on the plan provider website too.
And for you, the customer? Well, you do have to make a payment up front and, if you’re lucky, you won’t have to use the plan very much – so on occasion, you may and up spending more on a discount dental plan than you needed to. But for the difference it can make in an emergency, it’s a price worth paying.