If you’ve had health insurance, you’re going to be familiar with how a dental plan works.
Yes. Dental plans generally come with annual maximums, which is the most the insurance will cover in a given calendar year. Often those maximums are around $1,000, but they vary by plan and insurance provider.
Yes. Most cover dental work like fillings, extractions, and root canals. What services are covered and how much insurance will pay vary greatly by plan. To ensure a plan is the best dental insurance for your situation, be sure to check the details before you buy.
Yes. It is standalone coverage. You don’t need to have any other kind of health insurance to purchase it.
No. The ACA doesn’t require anyone to have dental coverage. In other words, you won’t face tax penalties if you don’t have it. The ACA does require that dental insurance be offered to you if you have children, but it doesn’t require you to get that insurance.
Yes. Almost all dental plans include coverage for routine exams, cleanings, routine X-rays, the kind of preventive care you need to keep your teeth healthy. Plans differ in whether you pay a copay for these services or they are covered completely without anything out-of-pocket by you, but they will be covered.
In fact, one of the chief benefits of having the insurance may be that it gives you the incentive to make regular dental preventive care a habit and to reduce the chances of more serious problems down the road.
There are three basic types: Dental HMOs, Dental PPOs and Dental Indemnity plans. To find the best one for you and your loved ones, you should consider what your most important deciding factors are (for example, cost, keeping your dentist, flexibility) and look at dental plans that suit your needs.
HMO stands for Health Maintenance Organization. If you participate in a Dental HMO, you generally have
PPO stands for Preferred Provider Organization. If you choose a Dental PPO, you can expect
This is traditional fee-for-service insurance, offering the most freedom of choice. You can expect
Short answer: Yes. Long answer: To get the most value out of your dental plan, confirm your dentist is in your plan’s network before you buy. In-network dentists agree to lower rates on their dental services, so you’ll save more by staying in-network.
Yes. Don’t wait until you have a problem to get insured. For your insurance to cover some dental services, you may have to wait. For basic services like fillings or extractions, a 4- to 6-month wait is common. For more major services, like a crown, your waiting period might be longer, like 12 months.
The best dental insurance plans are a long-term investment in your oral health, not a quick fix to a short-term problem.
Cost and convenience. You can help make more affordable dental care for yourself by staying in-network. A dentist in-network has agreed to lower rates on services. That means you pay less even before your insurance pays for anything by getting a filling worked on at an in-network dentist than by going to an out-of-network one.
Also, some dental insurance plans don’t pay any benefits to out-of-network dentists at all, or pay less. Check your plan before you buy.
Finally, if you stay in-network, you often won’t have to deal with submitting claims yourself. The dental office and your insurance provide will handle that. If you are out-of-network, you may have to submit your own claims and wait to be reimbursed.
No. The two are not the same.
Dental insurance is a type of health insurance where you pay a premium and after any deductibles or copays, insurance pays for covered dental expenses either in full or partially up to an annual maximum.
Dental discount plans operate more like price clubs. You pay a fee, and you get access to certain discounted rates at select dentists. There’s no payout from the discount plan company to your dental provider.
|Dental Insurance||Discount Plan|
|Monthly cost||Generally higher than discount plans||Generally lower than dental insurance|
|Monthly cost||A balance between you and the insurance company||You do. You pay the fee for joining and pay for the dental service at the discounted provider rate|
|Rates and providers||In-network providers provide services at discounted rates or by copay. Some plans cover preventive care at no cost.||Select providers provide reduced rates on select services|
|Waiting period||Usually not for preventive care; usually for basic or major services||No|
|Annual maximum benefit||Usually yes||No. Since no benefits are paid out, there is no maximum benefit|
Note: Both are generally a better option than paying cash out-of-pocket because both have negotiated lower rates on dental care with the dentists involved in their networks.