Overview Of The System
First, heres a breakdown of how private dental insurance works. You select a plan based on the providers you want to be able to choose from and what you can afford to pay.
- If you already have a dentist you like, and they are in the insurance companys network, youll be able to opt for one of the less expensive plans.
- If you dont have a dentist at all, you can choose from the dentists who are in the network and again have the option of a less expensive plan.
- If your existing dentist is not in the network, you can still get insurance, but youll pay significantly more to see your dentist than an in-network oneso much more that you may not have any chance at coming out ahead by being insured.
The monthly premiums will depend on the insurance company, your location, and the plan you choose. For many people the monthly premium will be around $50 a month. This means that youre spending $600 on dental costs each year even if you dont get any work done.
Track Your Benefit Usage
Keep careful track of which dental benefits you have used within your plans benefit period. Insurance plan coverage can vary widely, so you need to be aware of whether youre close to reaching your plans maximum annual coverage.
If you exceed your annual limit, youll need to pay for any additional dental services out of pocket–its important to know about this ahead of time and plan accordingly.
With a better understanding of your dental insurance benefits, youll be able to plan your dental care to make the most of your insurance coverage and minimize any up-front costs.
Feel free to call us if you have any questions. We are happy to help you get the most out of your dental plan while limiting your personal expenses.
Were pleased to offer affordable dental care and flexible billing, including direct billing options with your insurance provider. To find out more about Marlborough Dental Centre and our services for family dentistry, contact us online or by phone at 403.248.2066.
Is Dental Insurance Worth It
Modified date: Oct. 19, 2020
Getting insurance seems like a no-brainer. Medical insurance, more often than not, saves you money in the short and long term. If your monthly premium is high, youll pay a lower deductible, and vice versa.
Dental insurance works a little differently.
There are pros and cons to purchasing a dental policy, either from your employer or from an insurance marketplace like Healthcare.gov. In some cases dental coverage wont save you money at all, even if youre getting dental care.
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We Know Dental Insurance Terms Can Be Tricky To Understand We’ve Put Together This Handy Guide To Help You Understand Your Dental Insurance Coverage
Getting a handle on your dental insurance is step #1 to guarantee you get the maximum benefit from your dental coverage.
- Read and review the benefits booklet for the fully detailed outline of all that is included in your dental benefits.
- Register/sign in to your MySmile® account and click on Coverage overview for an easy-to-read overview of your plan’s features and benefits.
- Benefit period
- Reimbursement levels
- Waiting period
To help you better understand these fundamentals of your dental coverage, here’s a brief explanation of each one:
Benefit PeriodEssentially, a benefit period is the length of time during which the benefit is paid. Your dental coverage has both a plan effective date, and an end date, and in most cases, the benefit period for your plan will be one year.So, if your effective date on your plan is January 1, 2020, and the end date is December 31, 2020, you will no longer have coverage as of December 31, 2020, unless you renew your plan before the end date.
These two terms may sound similar, but they are not exactly the same. Both are fees that the patient is responsible to pay for a portion of their dental treatments.
MaximumYour dental plan probably mentions two types of maximums: annual and lifetime.
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Understand The Annual Maximum Dental Insurance
Dental insurance policies generally limit coverage to $1,000 $1,500 over a twelve-month vesting period. So, if your plan has an annual cap of $1,500, the dental benefits provider pays its share of your dental work until it pays the $1,500. Then you pay out of pocket for your dental care until your plan is reset.
A typical dental insurance plan offers what is known as 100-80-50 coverage. This means that the insurance will pay 100% of the cost of routine preventive and diagnostic care usually two check-ups with cleaning per year. After you meet your deductible, , most dental insurance providers pay 80% of the cost of basic services like fillings or root canals, and 50% of the cost of major procedures like crowns and bridges. You will then pay the rest of the money owed a process known as co-payments or co-insurance.
The portion you pay does not apply to your annual limit. For example, if you have a $300 cost to fix a broken tooth, and your insurance pays 80% of the cost, you have $1,260 left before you reach your annual limit.
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Most Affordable: Delta Dental
- Number of Policy Types: 5
- Number of States Available: 50
- Providers In-Network: 154,000
Delta Dental is a great pick when affordability is your top priority, thanks to low starting prices and plenty of policy extras to help you save.
Annual upfront premiums
Delta Dental is our pick for the most affordable policies, offering affordable dental discount plans that are further boosted by limited premiums and free service for many everyday procedures. It is a provider known for discount dental plans like its Delta Dental Patient Direct and DeltaCare USA, plans that both prioritize affordability with low premiums. Prices begin around $26 per month for an individual and $122 monthly for a family of four. Delta Dental offers an upfront fee schedule for each of its plans, so you know exactly what you will need to pay depending on the service you need. For example, its low-priced Clear Plan requires copays of $115 for fillings and non-surgical extractions, but you will have to pay up to $740 for your copay if you need a crown.
There is generally no waiting period for preventive care, with coverage kicking in from day one, but some more in-depth procedures may require some form of waiting period. Some procedures are exempt from coverage, such as implants, but there is 75% orthodontic coverage for adults and children, and teeth whitening is available with plans. Either way, it is always important to check your coverage to see what is included with your specific plan.
What Is Delta Dental Annual Maximum
Maximums. This is the most money a dental plan will pay for dental care within a benefit period. Once you reach the maximum amount, youll pay any costs for the remainder of the benefit period. Generally, Delta Dental PPO and Delta Dental Premier plans have maximums and deductibles, but the DeltaCare USA plan does not.
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Use These Benefits As Much As Possible
Once youve confirmed the dental services that are included in your insurance plan, make the most of them!
Most dental plans provide comprehensive coverage for preventative dental care, such as oral exams, x-rays, and dental cleanings, so consider focusing on these particular services. Preventative dental care saves you costs in the long run, helping you avoid dental emergencies and complicated restorative procedures.
Not Questioning Network Size
Three items make a network valuable: dentist fees, the discount rate and how the dentist provides care . When a dentist charges less than another dentist does for a filling, and an insurance plan offers a strong discount for that filling, it reduces total cost. Its even better if that dentist is able to use a filling to fix the tooth rather than a more expensive crown. Thats where the care agenda matters and helps to reduce the total cost of care.
How is a dental network built? A dental network is made up of dentists contracted by the insurance carrier to discount the cost of their services to members. Thats the dental discount.
Heres where it gets challenging. Insurance carriers may have different types of networks. Some give better discounts than others. Generally, a PPO network will provide the best discounts. Others may have a larger overall network outside of a PPO, but if getting the best discount matters, then a PPO network is your best option.
Your takeaway: When working with an insurance company or broker, ask about network savings rather than just network size. A PPO network gives better discounts. Question the care agenda and find out how the carrier is helping you reduce the cost of care.
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Best For Major Dental Work: Careington
Careington C500 Dental Savings Plan
- Number of Policy Types: 4
- Number of States Available: 48
- Providers In-Network: 100,000
Careington focuses on multi-faceted dental discount coverage with savings of up to 60% to help with your major dental work.
Starting at $9 per month
DialCare Teledentistry option
Not available in Vermont or Washington
Limited orthodontic coverage
Copays still required
Careington is prepared to help with your major dental work, offering discount dental plans with an upfront fee schedule that makes it easy to understand your coverage. There are no eligibility exclusions, although plans are not available in Vermont or Washington. Plans start at about $8.95 per month or $89 per year with member savings of up to 60% off standard dental procedures.
In addition to overall affordability, Careingtons coverage is comprehensive, with no waiting period, and includes cosmetic services like braces, dentures, and teeth whitening. While orthodontic coverage includes braces, it only provides up to 20% off normal costs.
Careington also offers DialCare Teledentistry, which offers a revolutionary new way to communicate with experienced and licensed dental providers. There is 24/7 support available 365 days a year via virtual consultations done over the phone or video chat. You can receive advice and even a diagnosis for everyday and urgent dental-related issues.
Your Benefit Dollars Can Add Up
Maximum Rollover dollars dont expire, so they can add up over time. To earn rollover dollars, you must receive at least one covered service, such as a routine cleaning, during the year, and your total claims paid during the calendar year must not exceed the payment threshold, which varies by plan.
There is a standard amount that you can roll over, based on your plans annual maximum:
|If your plans annual maximum benefit amount is:||And, if your claims dont exceed this amount:||Well roll over this amount to use next year and beyond:||You can earn up to this amount of rollover dollars:|
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Supplemental Dental Insurance Coverage
You can get a supplemental dental insurance coverage plan only for a year or two perhaps to help pay for orthodontia or other types of expensive dental care such as dental implants or veneers. Just make sure that theres no waiting period before coverage for the procedures you need is available.
Dental insurance typically doesnt provide immediate coverage for pre-existing conditions. With a new-to-you plan, youll usually have to wait six months for basic restorative services or a year for major restorative services.
The good news is that supplemental dental insurance policies tend to have no annual spending limits and no deductibles. You can often find a plan that provides coverage for specific procedures. Supplemental plans also usually dont have waiting periods and restrictions on preexisting conditions.
The bad news is that supplemental dental insurance policies also tend to be expensive, assume youll pay at least as much for your supplemental plan as you do for your primary plan. Carefully evaluate whether the savings you receive from the supplemental plan depending on what dentist you go to you will probably pay less as an insured patient than an uninsured one – will cover the additional costs of insurance.
Its Much More Straightforward And Specific Than Medical Insurance
Dental insurance policies help many people effectively budget for the cost of maintaining a great smile. Compared with medical insurance, understanding dental insurance policies is a breeze. Most policies are straightforward and specific regarding which procedures are covered and exactly how much you have to pay out of pocket. Dental insurance is available as part of medical insurance plans or as a stand-alone policy.
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Look Into A Discount Dental Plan
Discount dental plans or dental savings plans can give you the security of coverage without the cost. Youll pay an annual fee and get a discount, anywhere from 10% to 60%, on average dental care prices. Unlike insurance plans, there are no annual caps or waiting periods.
Our Top Picks For Best Dental Insurance Plans
- No waiting period on preventive services
- Available on state and federal exchanges
- Some plans include teeth whitening
- Available plans vary significantly per state
Delta Dental offers multiple comprehensive coverage options within one of the largest provider networks in the country. We chose Delta Dental as the best dental insurance plan for braces because orthodontic coverage is available at several price points for both children and adults.
To get started, input your zip code on Delta Dentals main website to see which plans, rates and benefits are available in your state. Currently, Delta offers four plans: Delta Dental PPO, Delta Dental Premier, Delta Dental PPO Plus Premier and DeltaCare USA .
A sample quote for New York includes two plans with orthodontic coverage. Delta Dental PPO covers 50% of orthodontic care, while DeltaCare sets a fixed copayment fee. With copayment, your out-of-pocket costs will vary by state.
Coverage is available in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories. Delta Dental plans also qualify for the government marketplace, Healthcare.gov, where qualifying plans are required to offer pediatric benefits.
- Well below industry average in J.D Power’s 2020 Dental Plan Satisfaction Study
- 12-month waiting period for major work
Limits increase once a year, and by the third year, the maximum benefit amount will be $1,500.
- $5,000 maximum limit benefit is not available in all states
- Expensive premium rates
- Limited data on customer satisfaction
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How Much Is Dental Insurance
The cost of dental insurance depends on these factors:
- Plan type
- State of residence
Policyholders pay monthly premiums for their coverage, but thats not the only factor to consider when evaluating the cost of dental care. Look at deductibles, copays, coinsurance and annual limits to determine just how much you will pay for your dental care.
Dental plans premiums range from $17 to $96. Plans with the lowest premiums focus on 80% to 100% preventive coverage, with minimal or no coverage for basic and major procedures. Plans with high premiums tend to have low deductible rates and comprehensive coverage for preventive, basic and major work.
A deductible is the amount of money a policyholder is responsible for paying before their insurance coverage kicks in. In dental insurance, annual deductible rates are usually set at $50 per person and $150 per family.
Other policies charge a one-time deductible. These tend to have higher rates and a higher deductible , but the policyholder only needs to meet it once instead of annually.
After you meet your deductible and your insurance coverage kicks in, youre still responsible for a portion of your dental care. This is called coinsurance. Consider a policy with 80% major work coverage: this means that insurance pays 80% of the procedure and the policyholder is responsible for paying the remaining 20%.
Annual maximum limits
Cost of common dental procedures
Focusing Simply On The Bottom Line
Yes, it plays a big role in your decision, but its what goes into that number that counts. If a rate looks too good to be true, then it probably is. A low rate may mean that some services are excluded from the plan design under the 100/80/50 in my example. If a plan doesnt include dental implants, for instance, the total cost may be more when adding premium and out-of-pocket costs. If theres a low rate, ask how the renewal rate is calculated the following year. Is there a rate guarantee that goes beyond one year? If the rate jumps significantly, youll have to decide whether or not you want to switch your plan again.
Your takeaway: A lower rate isnt always the best deal when looking at the total value of a dental plan.
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Best For Seniors: Guardian Direct
- Number of Policy Types: 5
- Number of States Available: 22
- Providers In-Network: 100,000
Guardian Direct is a veteran-focused provider that serves the senior community with specially curated plans that have no deductibles, waiting periods, or copays for routine care.
No coverage for implants
Guardian Direct is our pick for best for seniors, with affordable pricing, quick enrollment, and dental insurance coverage that places a specific focus on veteran-friendly services. With Guardian Direct, plans start at $20 per month with easy online quotes and enrollment, plus there is extra peace of mind with the ability to terminate your coverage at any time. Guardian Direct is also an insurance provider that specializes in dental coverage for military veterans who do not qualify for dental care through Veterans Affairs.
To get started with Guardian Direct, you must choose a primary care provider and then all diagnoses and preventive care are covered without the need for a copay. This includes things like your routine exams, X-rays, and fluoride treatments. Seniors are likely to appreciate that there is no waiting period, so coverage begins immediately. You will need a referral should you require the services of a specialist, but there is no deductible necessary, again making dental coverage all the more affordable for seniors on a limited income.