Enroll In A Dental Discount Plan
Unlike dental insurance, you do not have to wait to use a dental discount plan. You can pay less for dental care as soon as you activate your membership.
Another advantage of dental discount plans is that you arent limited by a minimum or a cap.
This means that if you need serious dental work and several expensive procedures, you save a lot more money.
Where exactly can you find such a dental discount plan? The best deal in dental is undoubtedly Carefree Dental.
Group Insurance From Organizations
This is often an overlooked source of low-cost health insurance. For example, those who are members of University Alumni Associations can obtain a few insurance choices. These organizations don’t help pay premiums, but the plan rates can be lower because of the group discount.
Ask organizations that you’re a member of if they offer a group health plan, or research those that do so and join. You might even ask your current organizations to offer a group health plan. They may not realize that they could do this for their members.
Be sure to ask any organization you contact if the plan is ACA-compliant.
Health Insurance Discount Cards
Health insurance discount cards give members access to negotiated low-cost healthcare. They’re not insurance plans but rather an option you might want to explore as a last resort.
You’ll pay a small monthly fee and get a discounted rate on your services when you go to a doctor or hospital. You’ll still end up paying all your medical costs, but at least you’ll pay less.
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Are Dental Insurance Alternatives Available
If COBRA and ACA policies dont seem like a good fit, you can always purchase an individual dental insurance policy. One major benefit of doing so is you can potentially avoid an extended lapse in coverage. But private policies are typically significantly more expensive than what youll find on the ACA marketplace.
However, maybe you dont want dental insurance at all. After all, adding to your monthly expenses is typically not what you want during a period of unemployment. While maintaining coverage does let you avoid any potential waiting limits, dropping it means you can avoid paying monthly premiums.
Fortunately, even if you dont have dental insurance, you can still save on dental care with a dental discount plan. Often called an affordable alternative to insurance, dental discount plans offer savings between 10% and 60% on a wide variety of dental procedures. While the specifics will vary by plan, you can save on preventative, minor and major dental procedures. Plus, discount plans are accepted by over 100,000 dental professionals across the country.
Dental procedures are a great way to save right away. After applying for a plan, you can receive your dental discount membership card within just a few days. Then you simply present your card at the office of any participating dentist for instant savings on any eligible procedures. Plans start as low as just $9 a month, which is often much more affordable than standard dental insurance premiums.
Individual Private Health Insurance
Individual private health insurance is a plan you purchase from a non-government exchange. Shopping on a private exchange, like eHealth, allows you to have more variety in your coverage options. You will also have the option of shopping for ACA-compliant plans, and youll even be able to apply for subsidies through eHealth by proxy.
Keep in mind that since the ARPA expanded qualifications for subsidies, you might now be eligible for assistance even if you did not qualify before. According to the new rules, enrollees now do not pay more than 8.5% of their income towards their insurance coverage, which has been reduced from nearly 10% under the prior limits. In addition, those earning more than 400% of the federal poverty level may now qualify for subsidies. In 2021, that includes individuals making about $51,000 or less annually and families of four making more than $104,800 annually.
If you find that subsidies arent an option for you, youll also be able to shop for alternative individual and family plans that may offer less benefits but be within in your price range. Short-term health insurance and catastrophic plans are two options that fall into this category.
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Best Dental Insurance Plans In The Us
There are many plans to choose from, and it can be difficult to get the details of each plan straight to choose the best dental insurance plan for you.
You can find good dental insurance with no deductible, or plans that include orthodontic treatment or dental implant insurance. Some plans even cover up to 50% of major restorative services.
If you want to get started right away comparing dental insurance plans, you can go to DentalInsurance.com. Simply enter your zip code and date of birth, and this online marketplace will let you browse a wide range of plans available in your state. You can also call to speak to one of their helpful licensed agents.
If you’re looking for options with coverage for orthodontic work or implants, it’s quick and easy to search the different options and check prices.
Now let’s take a look at some of the top dental insurance companies you might be considering. The following list of dental insurance companies gives the main benefits of each plan so you can more easily see what sets them apart from one another.
When You Don’t Have Dental Insurance
By Heather Larson, Next Avenue Contributor
As you age, your teeth become more susceptible to fracture and have a higher risk for decay. Over time, old fillings weaken your teeth. This isnt a good time to put your dental health on hold, says Dr. Robert S. Minch, a private-practice dentist in Lutherville, Md.
And yet, many folks in their 50s and 60s dont have dental insurance either because theyre self-employed, work part-time or have retired. Medicare doesnt cover most dental care, such as cleanings, fillings, tooth extractions, dentures, dental plates or other dental devices Part A only pays for certain dental services you may get when hospitalized.
The Affordable Care Act makes dental insurance for children one of the required 10 essential health benefits, but there is no dental insurance requirement for adults, says Don Silver, author of The Best ObamaCare Guide. So no help there.
Although dental coverage for adults isnt mandated, you can buy it in every state, except Washington, if you also purchase a medical plan through the ACA, says Jeff Album, Vice President, Public and Government Affairs, Delta Dental of CA, NY, PA & Affiliates.
If none of those routes work, you still have a variety of options for getting good dental care at a reasonable cost:
1. Look for a dentist with a payment plan. Many dentists offer a payment arrangement that replaces insurance. You pay an annual fee, usually over time, with no financing and no interest.
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Medicaid Chip And Insurance Plans Through The Marketplace
When you fill out a Marketplace application, youll find out if you qualify for any of these types of coverage:
- A Marketplace insurance plan. You may qualify for premium tax credits and savings on deductibles, copayments, and other out-of-pocket costs based on your household size and income. Some people with low incomes may wind up paying very small premiums. Learn about getting lower costs on a Marketplace insurance plan.
- Medicaid. Medicaid provides coverage to millions of Americans with limited incomes or disabilities. Many states have expanded Medicaid to cover all people below certain income levels. Learn more about Medicaid and how to apply.
- Childrens Health Insurance Program . CHIP provides coverage for children, and in some states pregnant women, in families with incomes too high for Medicaid but too low to afford private insurance. Learn more about CHIP.
After you finish your Marketplace application, youll get an eligibility determination that tells you what kind of coverage you and others in your household qualify for.
What Is Cobra Insurance And Is It Worth It
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, commonly known as COBRA, is a federally mandated program through which you can retain your employer’s policy for up to 18 months. If you do elect COBRA coverage, be prepared to pay significantly higher monthly premiums youll be required to cover the amount your employer was contributing plus a 2% administration fee. COBRA often isnt worth it, as most unemployed individuals can find a much more affordable policy on the marketplace.
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Do You Already Have A Dentist
If you already have a dentist that youd want to continue using, youll have to consider that while picking dental insurance for independent contractors. There are usually two types of dental plans for self-employed dental insurance:
Can You Go To The Dentist Without Insurance
If you’re looking for affordable dental care without insurance, the good news is that you absolutely can go to the dentist without insurance, keeping some things in mind. It really comes down to finding a dentist or clinic offering reduced-cost or free care.
Follow the advice listed above in this article, or call United Way at 2-1-1 to speak to a highly-trained rep who can help put you in touch with the care you need.
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What Is The Marketplace
The Health Insurance Marketplace®, or Exchange, is an online shopping center based at HealthCare.gov. It’s where to go to apply for coverage, find out if you qualify for savings, and make changes to your health plan.
Visit to find out if your state uses the federal Marketplace or a state based Marketplace.
If your employer offers health insurance coverage, they may have a website where you can shop for plans. This is called a “private exchange,” and it’s different from the Federal or State Marketplaces.
The Marketplace makes it possible to find health care coverage that meets your needs and budget.
During the Open Enrollment Period, you can view, compare, and apply for Cigna individual medical plans online directly through Cigna. You can also see if you are eligible for federal financial assistance and apply that assistance to your Cigna plan.
Buy A Dental Insurance Plan With No Waiting Period
If youre in a pinch and need dental coverage right away, you can with Delta Dental and see your dentist immediately. We offer five unique and affordable dental plans with no waiting period. This means you can focus on the important things like finding a new job instead of worrying about your dental coverage.
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Dental Insurance And Dental Emergencies
Dealing with a dental emergency on top of unemployment is an extremely difficult situation. Dont lose hope, there are affordable options for dental care. And dont neglect your dental health until you get back on your feet financially. Gambling on your health is never a good idea.
People tend to get bad news from their dentist, and figure theyll deal with the problem by purchasing dental insurance. Bad idea dont hold off on buying insurance until you absolutely need to get dental care. Dental insurance imposes waiting periods a set time that has to pass before you are covered for more expensive dental treatments. So you cant buy dental insurance today and use it to fix that throbbing tooth tomorrow.
If you absolutely have to, you may be able to postpone buying coverage for a month or two after your employer-provided insurance elapses IF youre buying a plan that waives the waiting period if you recently had dental insurance.
Wait any longer than a month or so, and youll likely face a waiting period, during which time your insurer will not pay anything for most treatments or procedures. During the waiting period, preventive care, such as checkups and cleanings, will probably be covered. You may have to wait for three to six months for basic procedures, and six months to a year for major procedures. You will not be reimbursed after the waiting period is over, and your dental insurance may not cover treatments that were already in process during the waiting period.
How To Avoid Costly Dental Work
Something I remind my patients regularly:
The best way to avoid expensive dental work is prevention, prevention, and prevention.
Dental care is often the most difficult healthcare to afford and access.
Thats why if youre seeing your dentist every 6 months for regular appointments, youll be saving thousands in the future. The upfront cost of consistent cleanings and exams is well worth the root canals, implants, and even dentures that youd be paying for in the aftermath of avoiding care.
Dental insurance or no dental insurance, you can save money with everyday habits and regular care.
Not only is preventative care a major cost-cutter, but ignoring your oral health can have some serious consequences.
As the U.S. Surgeon General said in his definitive 2000 report:You cannot be healthy without oral health. Oral health and general health should not be interpreted as separate entities.
Leaving your dental woes unchecked can, over time, lead to more systemic issues such as diabetes, heart issues, respiratory infections, and more.
Another method of preventative care is to treat your oral health from the inside out. Are you aware that you can actually reverse small cavities over time by remineralizing your teeth? Talk about savings! There are many foods that can reverse that decay and prevent further cavitiesregularly eating those is much less expensive than expensive dental work.
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Ways To Get Dental Insurance If Youre Self
Self-employed individuals have 2 ways to purchase dental insurance.
Look At What Each Plan Costs And Whats Covered
Top dental insurance carriers tend to have large provider networks, and let you buy coverage directly online. They also offer a range of DPPO and DHMO options and make it easy to compare their plans. Look for the best value by considering premiums, deductibles, and other costs as well as plan features such as:
- Types of services and treatments covered: You may not recognize the names of all the services coveredbut the longer the list, the better.
- Waiting periods: Major services and procedures, such as root canals, usually have a waiting period before they are covered.
- Primary dentist requirement: This is typical of DHMOs but some DPPOs also have this requirement. It means that you have to go through your regular dentist to get a referral to see a specialist.
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What Is Considered Major Dental Work
Major dental work refers to services that replace missing or damaged teeth. In dental insurance, major work falls into the most extensive of the three groups used to categorize most dental care:
- Preventative Services: Diagnostic and preventive services, such as cleanings and X-rays
- Basic Services: Basic restorative care, such as fillings and extractions
- Major Services: Major restorative care, such as root canals and crowns
Types Of Employee Benefits To Look For
Many employers offer additional employee benefits to attract new talent and incentivize employees to work hard and stay long-term. These might include vision insurance plans, dental insurance plans, supplemental health insurance plans, pet insurance plans, paid leave, life insurance plans, retirement plans, and more.
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What Is A Dental Hmo Plan
Dental HMO or DHMO plans tend to be some of the more affordable dental plans. There is typically no deductible and only a set fee for non-preventive dental services. Most preventive dental care, such as cleanings, exams, and routine X-rays is usually covered at 100%.
Costs are usually lower because you are required to choose a primary care dentist from the network. These plans typically do not provide coverage if you choose to see dentists outside the network . Networks may be smaller and more local. Dentists in a network agree to offer lower costs. These cost savings are passed on to patients as part of plan coverage.
Dental HMO plans usually do not have an annual maximum for covered services. This means that no matter how many covered dental services you need within a year, you will not have to worry about “running out” of benefits for the year.
If you need to see a specialist, your primary care dentist will refer you to a provider within the network.
How Can I Get Health Insurance Without A Job
Group insurance through an employer may be the most common way to obtain health coverage, but it is not the only one. If you find yourself unemployed, a Special Enrollment Period allows you to enroll in an individual or family health plan within 60 days. Other events that might make you eligible for an SEP include:
- Changing your marital status
- Having a baby
- Becoming a US citizen
- Moving to an area where your current plan is notoffered
- Losing health insurance from your employer
Once you enter your SEP, you can shop for unemployed health insurance on the exchange offered by your state or through a licensed broker like eHealth. If you choose a plan that is compliant with the Affordable Care Act , you may qualify for subsidies if you cant afford your health plan on your own. With increases in subsidies due to the ARPA, more people are qualifying for subsidies than ever before.
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