How To Get Dental Insurance

May 7th 2016

Many health insurance companies also offer dental insurance plans. Purchasing dental insurance, whether included in your primary or supplemental plan, can dramatically reduce your personal expenses for dental visits, and should be considered an essential part of health insurance coverage. 

How It Works 

If you have insurance through an HMO, your insurance works in one of the two ways. Depending on the agreed upon terms and conditions, you are required to pay the copayments or "co-pay" for certain procedures. The dental clinic/hospital then bills the insurance company for the agreed upon remainder of the payment. However, certain insurance companies may require you to settle the bills with the hospital and file a claim for reimbursement later to recover the costs. 

While it may be easy to consider dental insurance an unnecessary expense, the rising cost of regular checkups, dental surgery and orthodontic procedures has made this form of insurance incredibly beneficial. While you may go months without using it, waiting until a costly medical procedure that must be paid for by you, in full, is too late to benefit from the financial assistance of dental insurance. 

Types Of Dental Insurance 

Supplemental Dental Insurance: If your personal or employer's health insurance does not offer dental coverage, it is recommended that you purchase a supplemental dental insurance plan. Operating on the same model as regular health insurance, supplemental dental insurance plans cover a certain percent of your dental visits and procedures from approved doctors. Supplemental dental insurance is a good choice for anyone requiring specific dental care or if you do not have dental coverage at all. 

Family Dental Insurance: Family dental insurance plans cover all members of your family. Some family plans limit coverage to immediate family members only, while others allow for extended family member coverage. Family dental plans typically offer a discounted rate, making their monthly payments less expensive than the cost of individual plans purchased separately for each member of the family. 

Student Dental Insurance: Specific plans for students offer similar benefits to the average dental plan, often at discounted rates and short-term plans. This makes student dental plans perfect for college students whose university does not provide dental insurance. 

Cosmetic Dental Insurance: This form of dental insurance offers coverage on procedures done purely for aesthetic reasons, rather than medical need. Cosmetic dentistry is often not covered in most dental insurance plans, requiring the individual to cover 100% of the cost of the procedure. Cosmetic dental insurance is a good choice for anyone requiring dental reconstructive surgery, or intends to receive frequent cosmetic surgery.

Benefits 

The cost of dental care can be quite high. Dental insurance helps make dental care more affordable and encourages holders to seek regular check-ups in between needed procedures. Even enrolling in cost-saving membership plans, which differ from actual insurance plans and offer fewer benefits, can save you a substantial amount of money on expensive dental procedures.

  • Typically, your dental insurance plan will cover the cost of regular check-up, and only charge you a moderate co-pay, ranging from $5 to $20.
  • For procedures, depending on the dentist or orthodontist you choose and the type of work you are having done, your dental insurance will cover a certain percentage of the cost. Average dental plans can cover 50 percent to 90 percent of the cost of the procedure.
  • When possible, visit a plan approved dentist, as your dental insurance may reduce or eliminate your coverage for non-approved dentists. 

Dental Insurance Pricing 

Traditional dental insurance can range in cost from $20 to approximately $70 a month, depending on the specific plan's coverage and yearly deductible. Family dental plans do increase in price, but the extended coverage for multiple individuals often costs less the separate plans bought for each person. 

Dental Insurance Companies

If you currently have health insurance, you can check with your company to verify what dental services they offer with your plan. If dental procedures are not covered, research what dental plans your health insurance company does offer. Finally, if your health insurance company does not offer dental plans, or you do not feel they are appropriate for you, research which insurance companies do offer dental plans, and which specific plans are right for you. While researching, keep in mind that many companies vary by state, and can offer different services for different prices depending on your location. Some major insurance companies offering dental plans include:

  • Delta Dental
  • Aetna
  • Cigna
  • United
  • Anthem

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