Dental coverage from BCBS is available during open enrollment

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A young patient looking at a monitor and talking to her dentist about her dental health during a check up at his clinic.During an exam, dentists can check a patient’s oral and overall health. About 90% of all systemic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, have oral health symptoms, says the Academy of General Dentistry.UAB will offer dental insurance during the annual open enrollment for benefits, and eligible employees of UAB, UAB Hospital and UAB Hospital Management LLC will have the option to choose or decline that coverage between 7 a.m. Oct. 21 and 5 p.m. Nov. 7.

Employees have a choice of two stand-alone dental plans — basic or comprehensive coverage — provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama. Those already familiar with UAB’s existing dental plans will note there are no plan design changes for 2023, and there will be no rate increases for the 2023 plan year.

What to choose and whether to choose it depends entirely upon your needs. Dental care can be as simple as semi-annual visits for cleaning and X-rays. Or you may need more costly care, such as oral surgery, dentures or orthodontia.  

Ask yourself these five questions:

More on open enrollment:

Information about benefit options is being provided to better enable you to make the best choices for your household.

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: Vision coverage from BCBS   
  • How much do I spend on dental products and services each year?

Include regular checkups and any other preventive or remedial work.

  • How much would my premiums cost?

Final rates will be provided the week of Oct. 10. As with all UAB health care coverage, premiums are paid with pre-tax dollars through payroll deduction.

  • What does the plan actually cover?

BCBS’s dental benefit plans provide specific benefits and negotiated discounts for providers in and outside the network. Those include services such as regular oral exams, cleanings and fillings in the basic plan to more extensive ones such as bridges/crowns, dentures and orthodontia in the comprehensive plan. Among its Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) dental providers, fees are typically 10% to 35% below average fees of dentists in your area.

More plan detail is available in the Open Enrollment Toolkit.

  • Is there a provider I like who accepts this dental plan?

Blue Cross dental plans are accepted nationwide, which means you can go to the dentist of your choice. The fee may be slightly higher for a non-network provider, but it is likely your dentist is a preferred provider. A full listing of network providers, which includes UAB School of Dentistry faculty, is online at Detailed instructions are available in the Open Enrollment Toolkit.

  • How do I get the most out of dental insurance?
Use it. But equally important, preventing oral health problems before they start is one of the best ways to avoid more expensive procedures and keep dental costs down.