How to Find the Best Dental Insurance Plans

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

What Is Dental Insurance?

Dental insurance is a type of insurance for dental care benefits. The insurance helps to cover the cost of procedures, such as cleanings, fluoride treatments, x-rays, root canals, and implants, to maintain proper oral health.

Dental benefits can be purchased as an independent policy or added to an overall health insurance plan. Health benefit plans require that customers choose from a list of preferred providers in a network, while others allow customers to visit any provider they choose.

How does Dental Insurance Work?

Dental insurance provides coverage for a portion of the cost of dental care. Individuals or employers can purchase dental insurance policies from insurance companies, which provide benefits for routine dental care and treatment for dental problems.

Dental insurance and policies typically have deductibles, copayments, and maximum annual benefits. The deductible is the money you pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in. Copayments are the portion of the cost you pay for each dental procedure or office visit. Finally, maximum annual benefits are the most your insurance will pay for dental care within a given year.

How Much Is Dental Insurance?

Dental insurance plans typically cost between $15 and $50 per month, with more comprehensive plans costing more. These costs can vary depending on your age, the type of work you require, and whether or not you are looking for preventative care versus significant work such as implants.

Best Dental Insurance Plans For Individuals

The Best Dental Insurance Plans

Humana

Humana offers a variety of options that can meet your needs and budget. For example, their HMO plan provides dental coverage for preventive care, fillings, and teeth cleanings.

For those who need more comprehensive insurance, they offer a dental PPO plan that covers crowns, braces, and oral surgery.

Shop Humana quotes now.

Humana Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Unlimited payout of annual insurance
  • One-time payment of a lifetime deductible
  • 100% immediate coverage of preventive care
  • Very wide network

Cons:

  • As a plan focused mainly on preventative care, it doesn’t include many major services

Why We Chose Humana

With a wide network of available professionals and full, immediate coverage of your preventive care needs, Humana is one of the best dental insurance providers out there.

Cigna

Cigna is a well-known provider of dental insurance and overall health coverage options. For many years, Cigna dental insurance has focused on providing its customers with the best possible care and coverage, whether seeking cleanings, oral surgery, or other preventive services.

Offering a wide range of plans to suit different needs and budgets, Cigna dental insurance is an excellent choice for anyone looking for dental insurance. If you need basic and major services or more complex treatments, Cigna can help you get the basic and primary services you need.

Cigna Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Orthodontic and restorative coverage included in some plans
  • Wide network of dentists at 300,000 locations across the US

Cons:

  • Lengthy waiting period for the most in-demand procedures (6-12 months)
  • No coverage for implants and cosmetic procedures

Why We Chose Cigna

Cigna dental plans cover certain services not included in the packages of other companies, such as restorative or orthodontic care, which is why we took it into account in our list of the best dental insurance providers.

Principal

The Principal Financial Group dental insurance company offers individual and family insurance. The company has a network of providers offering personalized services at discounted rates and dental health plans that allow customers to save on dental care.

Aetna

Aetna is one of the largest dental insurance companies in the United States. They offer coverage to individuals and businesses and have a network of over 200,000 dental providers nationwide.

Aetna dental plans cover preventive care, such as cleanings and checkups, and significant services like x-rays, fillings, and crowns. They also offer orthodontic coverage for both children and adults.

Aetna Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Low rates
  • No additional deductibles for preventive care
  • Plan includes vision and hearing care

Cons:

  • Unavailable in many states

Why We Chose Aetna

Aetna’s dental coverage is comprehensive and includes additional basic coverage for vision and hearing, all at a very affordable price.

Metlife

MetLife is a leading dental insurance provider, offering a wide range of plans that provide comprehensive coverage for individuals and families.

MetLife also offers a variety of other insurance products, including life, disability, and long-term care insurance.

Metlife Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Low deductibles
  • Depending on circumstances, applicants can skip the waiting period
  • You can easily track claims online or via the mobile app

Cons:

  • Only available through employers and in a handful of states

Why We Chose Metlife

While it’s only available as part of employers’ insurance packages, Metlife is well-worth a mention on our list due to its convenient, digitalized processes and low deductibles.

Physicians Mutual

Physicians Mutual is a dental insurance company that offers various plans to meet its customers’ needs. Physicians Mutual offers both PPO and indemnity insurance plans.

PPO plans offer more flexibility in choosing a dentist but may require patients to pay more out-of-pocket costs.

Indemnity plans allow patients to choose any dentist but typically have higher premiums. Physicians Mutual also offers a variety of discounts on basic and primary services, making it an affordable option.

Physicians Mutual Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • No deductibles
  • You don’t have to wait for basic procedures and preventive care
  • No limits on benefits (lifetime or annual)

Cons:

  • A waiting period of up to 12 months for major dental work
  • There’s a limit to how much Physicians Mutual can cover per procedure

Why We Chose Physicians Mutual

Its lack of deductibles and waiting periods for basic services make Physicians Mutual a great plan for anyone seeking affordable coverage of their most basic dental needs.

Blue Cross

Blue Cross dental insurance is among the most popular dental insurance providers in the United States. They offer various personalized services that can be tailored to fit the needs of individuals, families, and businesses.

Its extensive network of dentists sets the Blue Cross apart from other dental insurance providers. They have over 80,000 participating dentist offices nationwide, so policyholders can usually find one nearby.

Blue Cross Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Coverage for individuals of all ages
  • Large provider network

Cons:

  • Since they’re individually operated, there may be major differences in the coverage offered by each Blue Cross local branch

Why we chose Blue Cross

As a dental insurance provider with 80,000 participating dentist offices and affordable coverage for all ages, Blue Cross is one of the most accessible dental insurance options for most Americans.

Ameritas

Ameritas is a leading dental insurance provider, offering comprehensive coverage to individuals and families nationwide. Their plans are designed to help people stay on top of their dental health plan, providing coverage for routine dental checkups, major dental procedures, x-rays, and more.

Additionally, Ameritas offers flexible payment options, allowing customers to choose how best to pay for their care.

Ameritas Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Wide variety of coverage options in every region
  • Flexible payment options

Cons:

  • High cost of the average premium

Why We Chose Ameritas

Even though its premiums are rather high, Ameritas is a dental insurance provider worthy of your consideration thanks to its flexibility in both payment options and range of available covered services.

AARP

AARP has long been known as a leading provider of dental insurance services, providing coverage to millions of people across the country. Their dental plans are designed to help them afford the dental care they need, with a wide range of options to meet different needs and budgets.

With comprehensive benefits, easy online enrollment, and discounts at over 100,000 dental providers nationwide, it’s no wonder many Americans turn to AARP for dental insurance.

AARP Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • No waiting period for basic care
  • Discounts for seniors
  • 100% coverage for preventive care

Cons:

  • Long waiting periods for major services
  • AARP-member exclusive

Why We Chose AARP

AARP dental insurance plans are easily among the best choices for American seniors looking for affordable, quickly accessible dental care insurance.

Costco

Costco dental plans offer comprehensive coverage at an affordable cost, making them an ideal choice for anyone looking to keep their teeth and gums in great shape.

With coverage that includes regular dental checkups and cleanings and more specialized treatments like root canals and implants, Costco’s dental insurance gives you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you are taken care of.

Costco Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Good option for people who can’t get dental insurance through their employers
  • Access to a personal health advocate

Cons:

  • Very basic coverage may not be suitable for those with more complex needs

Why We Chose Costco

Getting insurance at Costco still doesn’t sound right even years since launch, but the truth is that it’s a simple, hassle-free way to get dental insurance coverage.

Liberty Dental

Liberty Dental Plan is an insurance company that offers its customers a wide range of dental services. Liberty Dental Plan offers both PPO and indemnity dental insurance plans, as well as discount dental plans. Regardless of your needs, Liberty Dental Plan has you covered with its wide selection of dental insurance plans.

Liberty Dental offers affordable dental insurance plans that provide the coverage you need to maintain good oral health. With Liberty Dental, you’ll have access to a network of dentists who can provide preventive care, implants, and more.

Liberty Dental Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Choice of discount dental plans
  • Access to implants and a number of major services

Cons:

  • Smaller network than other dental insurance companies

Why We Chose Liberty Dental

Liberty Dental offers coverage for a wide range of dental care procedures at competitive rates due to its numerous discount plans.

Delta Dental

Delta Dental is one of the largest dental insurance providers in the United States, covering over 50 million people nationwide. They offer various plans designed to meet the needs of individuals, families, and businesses.

The plans offer comprehensive coverage for preventive care, essential services, and significant services. Plus, with over 152,000 participating dentist offices nationwide, policyholders can usually find one nearby.

Delta Dental Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Mobile app and online claim management
  • 100% coverage for preventive care in most plans
  • Highly customizable policies

Cons:

  • Not available in every state
  • Waiting periods on a lot of self-paid plans

Why We Chose Delta Dental

Delta Dental has earned a spot on our list thanks to its customizable policies and full coverage for preventive dental care, making it a highly malleable, affordable choice for individuals whose employers don’t offer dental coverage.

Ways to Buy Dental Insurance

There are several ways to buy dental insurance:

  • Through your employer: Many employers offer full coverage dental insurance as part of their benefits package. If your employer offers dental insurance, you may be able to enroll during your company’s open enrollment period.
  • Directly from an insurance company: You can also buy dental insurance directly from an insurance company. In addition, you can research different insurance companies and compare dental plans online or through an insurance agent.
  • Through a healthcare exchange: If you are self-employed or do not have access to dental insurance through your employer, you may be able to purchase dental insurance through a healthcare exchange.
  • Through a discount dental plan: Discount dental plans are not insurance plans but rather membership programs that offer discounted rates for dental services at participating dentists. You pay an annual fee to join the program and then receive discounted service rates.

Get the best dental insurance quotes in The Annuity Expert insurance marketplace

Dental Carriers

Types of Dental Insurance Plans

There are several types of dental and vision insurance plans available. Here are some of the most common dental insurance and vision types:

  • Preferred Provider Organization (PPO): PPO dental insurance plans provide a network of dentists offering discounted services for plan members. You can still see a dentist outside the network but may have to pay more out of pocket.
  • Health Maintenance Organization (HMO): HMO dental insurance plans provide access to a network of dentists offering discounted services for plan members. It would be best if you typically chose a primary care dentist and must receive care from dentists within the network to receive coverage.
  • Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO): DHMO dental insurance plans are similar to HMO plans but have a more limited network of dentists. You typically must choose a primary care dentist and receive care from dentists within the network to receive coverage.
  • Indemnity: Indemnity dental insurance plans allow you to see any dentist you choose, but you may have to pay more out of pocket for basic services. These plans typically have higher deductibles and lower annual maximum benefit limits.
  • Discount dental plans: Discount dental plans are not insurance plans but membership programs that offer discounted rates for dental services at participating dentists. You pay an annual fee to join the program and then receive discounted service rates.
Best Dental Insurance For Major Dental Work

What Does Dental Insurance Typically Cover?

Dental insurance typically covers a range of preventive services and essential and significant dental procedures. The specific coverage will depend on the dental insurance plan that you choose. Here are some standard dental procedures that are typically covered by dental insurance:

  • Preventive care: This includes regular dental checkups, cleanings, and X-rays.
  • Basic care: This includes minor dental procedures such as fillings, extractions, and root canals.
  • Major care: This includes more complex dental procedures such as crowns, bridges, and dentures.
  • Orthodontic care: Some dental insurance plans, such as braces and Invisalign, cover orthodontic treatment.

Can I Get Dental Insurance Through Medicaid?

Yes, you can get dental insurance through Medicaid. Medicaid is one of the largest dental insurance providers in the United States. They offer a variety of dental plans that are designed to meet the needs of low-income families.

If you want dental insurance through Medicaid, you can contact your state’s Medicaid office to learn more about their plans and how to enroll.

Best Dental Insurance For Major Dental Work

Dental Insurance for Seniors

As a senior citizen, you may wonder if dental insurance options are available. The good news is that several dental insurance plans are designed for seniors.

Medicare is a federal health insurance program that provides coverage for seniors. Medicare does not cover routine dental care but will cover the necessary dental care to treat a medical condition.

Another option for seniors is dental insurance through the Veterans Administration. The VA provides dental insurance to eligible veterans, which can cover a wide range of administrative services.

Dental Insurance For Kids

Dental insurance for kids is a type of insurance that covers dental services for children. This type of insurance is designed to help parents pay for dental care for their children, including regular checkups, cleanings, and other dental procedures. Depending on the plan, dental insurance for kids may also cover orthodontic services, such as braces.

Choosing A Dental Plan Under The Affordable Care Act

If you are looking for dental insurance under the Affordable Care Act, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

First, all plans offered through the Marketplace must cover essential health benefits, including dental care.

Second, you can choose from two plans: a Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO) or a fee-for-service plan (FFS).

With a DHMO, you must select a primary care dentist from the plan’s network.

With an FFS plan, you can see any dentist that accepts the plan.

Dental health maintenance organization (DHMO)

Good dental health is essential for overall well-being, and a Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO) can be the perfect solution for maintaining oral hygiene. In addition, a DHMO offers a wide range of services, from preventative care to emergency care, designed to keep you smiling and healthy.

DHMOs provide comprehensive coverage for all dental needs and typically feature lower out-of-pocket costs than traditional dental insurance providers and plans. Furthermore, the team at a DHMO can offer personalized advice and treatment tailored specifically to your unique dental situation.

Is HMO or PPO better for dental care?

Whether an HMO or PPO is better for dental care depends on your needs and preferences. Here are some factors to consider:

HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) Dental Plans

  • Typically have lower monthly premiums than PPO plans.
  • Requires you to choose a primary care dentist in the plan’s network.
  • Generally, they offer more comprehensive coverage for preventive care such as cleanings, exams, and x-rays.
  • It may require pre-authorization for specific procedures.
  • Usually, they do not cover out-of-network care, except in emergencies.
  • May have lower out-of-pocket costs for covered services.

PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) dental plans

  • Generally, it offers more flexibility in choosing a dentist, as you can usually see any dentist you choose.
  • They may have higher monthly premiums than HMO plans.
  • Often, you have a deductible that you must meet before coverage kicks in.
  • Typically pay a percentage of the cost of covered services, which can result in higher out-of-pocket costs.
  • It may cover out-of-network care, although at a higher cost.
  • It may offer more coverage for restorative and significant procedures such as crowns, bridges, and implants.

What Questions Do I Need to Ask to Find the Right Plan For Me?

There are a few key questions you should ask when you shop for dental plans:

  • What is the monthly premium?
  • What is the annual deductible?
  • How much does the plan pay for preventive care, essential therapeutic services, and major dental work?
  • Is there a network of dentists that I can choose from?
  • What is the process for filing a claim?

Where Can I Find Dental Insurance With No Waiting Period?

One of the most common avenues is to work directly with a dental provider, as many clinics and providers offer dental plans that do not require any waiting periods.

You can also shop for dental plans effectively at independent dental insurance companies, many of which offer affordable dental plans with no waiting periods.

Finally, if you have insurance through your employer or another provider in the network, it’s worth checking in to see what additional dental coverage options may be available.

Can you get dental implants covered by insurance?

Dental implant coverage varies by insurance plan, but in general, many dental insurance plans do not cover the total cost of dental implants. This is because dental implants are considered a cosmetic or elective procedure and are not always medically necessary.

However, some dental insurance plans may cover a portion of the cost of dental implants, particularly if they are needed to restore dental function or replace teeth lost due to injury or disease. Some plans may cover a portion of the cost of the implant, while others may cover the entire cost of the implant but not the cost of the restoration (such as a crown or bridge).

Best Dental Insurance

What to Know Before Getting Dental Implants

Before getting dental implants, knowing the potential risks and complications is essential. While implants are generally safe, there is always a risk of infection or implant failure.

Having realistic expectations about what implants can do for you is also essential. For example, implants can provide an excellent solution for missing teeth but will not necessarily look or feel exactly like your natural teeth.

Can I Combine Dental And Vision Insurance?

While dental and vision insurance significantly helps cover the dental and vision care cost, they are not typically combined into one plan. This is because different insurers typically provide dental and vision insurance.

What Are Some Tips For Saving Money On Dental Insurance?

You can save money on dental insurance in a few key ways. One way is to ensure you understand your coverage and what it does and does not cover. Unfortunately, many people choose dental insurance plans without fully understanding the coverage, which can lead to them paying for services that are not covered.

Another way to save on dental insurance is to choose a plan with a high deductible. You will have to pay more out-of-pocket costs for services, which can lead to lower monthly premiums.

In-network providers have agreed to provide services at a discounted rate, so you can save money on your dental care by using these network providers.

Next Steps

In conclusion, dental insurance can be a great way to ensure you get the dental care you need and protect yourself from unexpected costs. Whether you’re looking for basic coverage or more complex and comprehensive coverage, there is an insurance policy that can meet your needs and budget. Researching your options and understanding the different types of dental insurance policies will help you find the best fit. If you want to learn more or get a free dental insurance policy quote, contact us today! We would love to help you get the protection you need for your oral health care.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key differences between dental insurance plans’ coverage for basic and major services such as root canals, crowns, and dental implants?

Coverage for primary dental services such as root canals, crowns, and dental implants varies by insurance plan.

Which Medicare Advantage plan has the best dental coverage?

Humana’s Medicare Advantage plan has the best dental coverage.

What Are The Different Types Of Dental Insurance?

Common types of dental insurance are HMO, PPO, and indemnity plans.

How does prior dental coverage affect the coverage options under dental insurance plans?

Prior dental coverage may impact coverage options under dental insurance plans by considering pre-existing dental conditions, eligibility for specific treatments, and potential limitations or exclusions for services already received.

Are dental insurance plans offering any unique features or benefits from a life insurance company?

Dental insurance plans from life insurance companies may offer unique features or benefits such as bundled coverage options, potential cost savings, and the convenience of managing multiple insurance policies with a single provider.

What is group dental insurance, and how does it differ from individual dental insurance plans?

Group dental insurance is coverage provided to individuals, often through an employer or organization, offering advantages such as lower costs, simplified administration, and potential customization options compared to individual dental insurance plans.

What are the dental care costs?

Dental care costs vary depending on the treatment, location, dental provider, insurance coverage, and individual circumstances. It is best to consult a dentist or dental insurance provider for accurate cost estimates.

What is the best dental insurance for major dental work?

The best dental insurance for major work typically includes plans with high annual maximums and comprehensive coverage for procedures like crowns, bridges, and implants. Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) are often recommended due to their flexibility and extensive coverage. It’s crucial to compare plans for specific benefits, limitations, and costs and consult a dental insurance broker for tailored advice based on individual needs.

What is the best dental insurance for implants?

The best dental insurance for implants should specifically cover these procedures, offer high annual maximums to offset costs substantially, and have manageable deductibles and co-pays. Choosing a plan with a broad network of dentists and reasonable waiting periods is important. Careful comparison of plans is crucial to ensure these features align with your needs, as coverage for implants can vary significantly among insurance providers.

Which dental insurance has the best coverage?

The best dental insurance coverage depends on individual needs, balancing coverage scope, cost-effectiveness, and network size. Ideal plans provide a mix of preventive care and basic and major procedure coverage, with reasonable premiums, low deductibles, and high annual maximums. A wide network of dentists enhances accessibility and choice.

What is the best dental insurance for oral surgery?

The best dental insurance for oral surgery offers comprehensive coverage for surgical procedures with high annual maximums and low deductibles. It should include oral surgery in its benefits, have a broad network of surgeons, and feature manageable waiting periods and co-pays to reduce out-of-pocket expenses.

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Shawn Plummer is a licensed financial professional, insurance agent, and annuity broker with over 14 years of first-hand experience with annuities and insurance. Since beginning his journey in 2009, he has been pivotal in selling and educating about annuities and insurance products. Still, he has also played an instrumental role in training financial advisors for a prestigious Fortune Global 500 insurance company, Allianz. His insights and expertise have made him a sought-after voice in the industry, leading to features in renowned publications such as Time Magazine, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, Women’s Health Magazine, and many more. Shawn’s driving ambition? To simplify retirement planning, he ensures his clients understand their choices and secure the best insurance coverage at unbeatable rates.

The Annuity Expert is an independent online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. The goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning and find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates

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