The Basics of Medical, Dental, and Vision Insurance

Medical Insurance

Medical insurance coverage, often referred to as Health insurance, is the cornerstone of most group benefit plans. The majority of Americans are covered by plans offered by their employers. The employers generally pay for all or part of the coverage. Individual coverage can also be purchased by individuals, but it is often more costly than through a group plan.

For some people, such as lower income or senior citizens, the government offers coverage through Medicare and Medicaid. However, certain requirements must be met in order to qualify.

The purpose of medical coverage is to help people afford health care. In the United States, health care costs continue to rise every year, and many people find themselves in dire financial straits when faced with mounting medical bills. According to a 2009 report by CNN, over 60 percent of U.S. bankruptcies are due to medical bills.

While insurance isn’t necessarily cheap, it is less expensive than paying out of pocket for care. This is especially true for families.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for the best plan:

  • You get what you pay for. Inexpensive plans are usually that way for a reason, and the quality of care and coverage may be seriously lacking. Expensive plans will give you more options and more freedom, but may also be out of your price range. Middle of the road is generally the best way to go.
  • Watch for loopholes. Be sure to read the fine print and note exactly what the plan will and will not cover. For example, you may expect your medical plan to cover prescription drugs, but often times that is an optional component of the plan.
  • Check the networks. If you want to continue seeing the family physician, be sure that they are on the plan’s network before you enroll. You may also want to check the network to see if specialists, labs and hospitals are convenient to where you live.

Medical coverage is something that everyone should have. Not only will it be there for you in case of injury or illness, but it will help to protect you financially.

Dental Insurance

Sharing a smile is a great way to brighten someone’s day, but did you know that good dental care can reflect on your overall health? That’s why having dental insurance is an important part of a comprehensive health care plan for you and your family.


You may not realize that regular dental check ups and cleanings can help diagnose health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, HIV and cancer. If your dentist finds any indications of these or other problems, he will recommend that you immediately see your physician for tests and treatment.


There are three types of dental insurance plans. They are:


  • Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO) – This plan pays dentists on a per-person basis rather than for the actual treatment provided.


  • Indemnity – With this plan you pay a monthly premium and choose your own dentist, who is then paid on a fee-for-service basis.


  • Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) – This plan gives the patient group a choice of preferred dentists to choose from. The participants pay monthly premiums for coverage. However, if you see a dentist outside of the preferred list, you’ll have to pay more out of pocket.

If you’d like more information about dental insurance, visit your Human Resources or Benefits office. 

Vision Insurance

Vision insurance is an important part of a comprehensive benefits package. And while you may associate it with eye exams and contact lenses, vision coverage offers far more benefits to you than you may realize.

For example, some coverage can help you pay for expensive procedures, such as LASIK or PRK surgeries. This can correct serious refractive issues and help people to see without the aid of glasses or contacts. Regular eye exams can also detect early onset of eye diseases such as glaucoma, as well as other health issues like hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

So which vision plan is right for you? Well, that depends on your needs. Generally, the plans offer free or low-cost eye exams and eyewear within certain limits. Plan benefits can vary, so it's best to review your enrollment materials and do some research to make sure you are getting exactly what you need.

Remember to get your eyes examined on a regular basis, and don't be afraid to ask questions.


This article is intended to provide accurate and authoritative information on the subject matter covered. It is distributed with the understanding that FBMC is not rendering professional or medical advice and assumes no liability in connection with its use.


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