Did you know that most of our readers prefer DentalPlans.com for their dental savings plan?
Like health insurance, home insurance, and auto insurance, you should take the time to compare dental insurance plans before signing up for a policy.
Our guide will walk you through some of the key considerations you need to take into account before choosing a font.
Step 1: Understand your dental needs.
Everyone has different dental needs. A young, single person with no history of dental problems will need less coverage and pay less than a family of 3 with a history of gum disease. A family with young children also has to worry about any complications that may come with growing up, such as the need for braces.
In order to understand your dental needs, it is best to make a list of your and your family’s dental history. This includes past, present and future needs (predicted by professionals). You’ll also want to take a look at what you’ve paid for previous dental visits and issues, which will give you an idea of your cost wants and requirements.
Step 2: Review your insurance options
You can get dental coverage using 1 of 2 types of plans: a comprehensive health insurance plan that includes dental coverage or through a stand-alone dental insurance plan.
Insurance companies sometimes include dental coverage through health care plans you get through work, but others don’t. Find out if dental care is covered by the health insurance plan you can get from your employer.
Step 3: Compare dental insurance plans
An insurance plan offered through an employer or an association is a group plan. An individual plan is insurance that you buy yourself.
Let’s take a look at some additional details you can use to decide which type of plan is right for you.
Group dental insurance
Group insurance plans are usually a dental plan that you get through your workplace. With group insurance, you will only have a limited choice of plans and you generally cannot shop between competing companies.
However, your employer will pay some or all of your premiums or deduct your share of your premium from your paycheck when you are enrolled in a group plan.
Individual dental insurance
You can purchase individual dental insurance if you do not get health insurance through your employer or if your employer does not provide dental coverage. You will be able to shop around and choose the plan you want for you and your family when you choose to purchase a dental insurance policy independently.
Although you typically pay more for coverage with a standalone plan, these plans give you more options and make it easier to customize your coverage.
Step 4: Review a list of dentists included in coverage
Each dental insurance plan will have a different network. A dental insurance network is made up of all dentists in a given region who are willing to accept the dental insurance plan you have chosen.
If you’ve seen a dentist before, check to see if they’re inside or outside of your new network. If they’re not in your network, you’ll probably have to shell out more money to keep seeing them.
You will be able to choose from all the dentists that the insurer has in the network and who are accepting new patients. You should consider researching which dentists are included in the coverage you are considering. If options are limited in your area, you may want to consider choosing another insurance plan.
Step 5: Check coverage
Knowing what type of dental insurance plan you have will help you choose a dentist, lower your costs, and understand exactly what is and isn’t covered by your insurance. There are different types of plans that offer different coverage.
- Preferred Supplier Organizations (PPOs). A PPO does not have a list of in-network dentists that you must see. Although you generally save money when you work with an in-network dentist, you can still use your insurance benefits with dentists who are not in your network.
- Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO). DHMO plans have a defined network of dentists who accept your insurance, and you must visit a dentist in the network to use your benefits. HMO plans give you less freedom to choose your insurance provider, but are generally less expensive than PPO plans.
- Discount plans. Although technically not an insurance plan, a discount plan allows you to reduce the costs of major dental procedures and exams in exchange for a monthly fee.
Each of these plan options offers coverage for different circumstances, as well as different premiums and fees. If you’re not sure what’s covered by the plan you’ve chosen, contact your insurance provider.
Dental insurance benefits
The benefits you receive depend on the dental plan you choose. Some possible benefits may include:
- Preventive care. This covers routine oral exams, tooth cleanings, fluoride treatments and routine x-rays.
- Basic catering services. Typically includes fillings, root canals, and other types of regular routine treatments.
- Major catering services. Crowns, dentures, implants and some oral surgeries are generally considered major services.
Benefits can vary from company to company, so make sure you understand what benefits you’ll receive with the plan you choose before signing a contract.
What is the real value of dental insurance?
The cost of dental insurance varies from state to state. The cost will also depend heavily on your income, where you live, your age and the number of people covered by the policy.
You can pay as little as $15 per month if you’re an individual, but those rates can increase significantly as you add family members to your plan. Your policy will also have a maximum cap on the total dollar amount of benefits you can claim.
The monthly cost of dental insurance pales in comparison to what you will have to spend if you need emergency dental care. The average cost of a dental crown in the United States is between $500 and $3,000, while dental implants can cost you up to $4,500.
Even routine cleanings can cost between $75 and $200 without insurance, whereas you’ll typically pay $0 for preventative care when you’re enrolled in an insurance plan. If you have little savings or a long history of family dental issues, you may be able to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars by signing up for a dental insurance policy.
How does dental insurance work?
If you have health insurance or a supplemental insurance plan, you’re probably already familiar with the dental insurance process. First, you’ll choose a dental insurance plan and review your options for service providers. After you choose a dental service provider and receive treatment, your dental office will review your insurance coverage and ensure that the services you received are covered by your plan.
From there, you will be responsible for paying the coinsurance percentage of your plan. If your plan has a deductible, you will also need to meet it before your insurance will help cover the cost of your treatments. While preventative care will typically cost you $0 with dental insurance, you may have to pay up to 50% of the cost of major restorative services like crowns and bridges.
Dental insurance waiting period and coverage limits
Most dental insurance plans have a waiting period that you must go through before you can use your plan’s benefits. Although the majority of dental insurance plans do not impose a waiting period for preventive care, you may have to wait up to 3 months before you can use your insurance for major services.
Your dental insurance plan will also include a limit on the total amount of benefits you can claim from your plan. Once you reach your annual limit, you can no longer claim benefits from your insurance plan provider.
Best Dental Insurance Companies
Not sure where to start your search for dental insurance? Consider getting started with some of our favorite dental insurance providers below.
Don’t wait until you have a major dental emergency to start shopping for dental insurance plans. Your dental plan will have a waiting period that will prevent you from using your benefits until a few months after your policy is approved. The best time to start shopping for insurance is now, before you need major dental treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it worth having dental insurance?
Is it worth having dental insurance?
If you have little savings or have recurring dental care needs, you may be able to save money with a dental insurance plan. If your teeth are still healthy and you can cover your cleaning costs, you may not need dental insurance.
Can I buy dental insurance without health insurance?
Can I buy dental insurance without health insurance?
You can buy an independent dental plan without insurance, but you cannot buy a dental plan through the Federal Marketplace without already having a health insurance plan from the Marketplace.
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