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Looking for lower-cost dental insurance in Iowa? Dental insurance can help you save on expensive dental procedures, especially if you know the right way to look for a dental plan.
We’ll guide you through how dental insurance works, including what is and isn’t covered by dental insurance plans. We also break down how much you can expect to pay for dental coverage in Iowa.
What is Dental Insurance?
Dental insurance provides coverage for your dental care while helping maintain your oral health and hygiene -- a key component to your overall wellness. Sometimes, dental insurance will be a part of your health insurance plan, whether it comes built in or you select it as an add-on. Other times, you may purchase dental insurance privately or from a different provider than your health insurance company.
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Types of Dental Coverage
First, understand some common dental insurance terms to better understand how dental coverage works. Check out the list below for commonly-used terms in dental insurance plans so you can make a more informed choice on dental insurance.
- Premium: The monthly or annual cost of your dental insurance plan.
- Deductible: A dollar amount your dental plan requires you to pay before your insurance benefits kick in. Dental insurance deductibles are commonly around $50. Deductibles typically reset at the beginning of a new year, so if you meet your deductible this year, you’ll have to pay it for services next year.
- Maximum benefit: The total dollar amount of dental insurance benefits you can receive. Many plans limit benefits to between $1,000-$1,500.
- Coinsurance: A percentage of your dental procedure you’ll pay. For example, let’s say you have 50% coinsurance. In this scenario, both you and your insurance would cover 50% of the cost of a procedure after the deductible is met.
- Copayment: Similar to coinsurance, copayments are fixed dollar amounts that you must pay for a service. For example, let’s say you have a $100 copayment on a $500 procedure. Your insurance pays the remaining $400.
- Dental network: A list of dentists who have contracted with an insurance provider to offer services to insurance customers at specified rates, often at a discount.
Dental Plan Options
There are many types of coverage for dental insurance. The 2 most common types include:
- Dental preferred provider organization (PPO)
- Dental health management organization (DHMO)
The different coverage types offer their own advantages and disadvantages. Take a look at the common plan types and why you might want to choose a certain plan over the others.
Dental Preferred Provider Organization
Commonly called a PPO or DPPO, preferred provider organizations offer increased coinsurance coverage when you use an in-network dentist. You can choose to visit any dentist you wish, but you may have to pay significantly less if you visit an in-network provider.
- You have the freedom to visit any dentist.
- You’ll get reduced costs if you go to an in-network dentist.
- DPPOs cost more than other dental coverage plans.
- They usually require a deductible and coinsurance.
- DPPOs have annual maximum benefits.
Dental Health Management Organization
Dental health management organizations (DHMOs) require you to choose an in-network dentist as your primary provider. You then visit your primary dentist or oral health facility for all of your dental needs. You’ll probably have to get a referral from your primary dentist if you need a specialist like an oral surgeon.
DHMO plan dentists receive a monthly payment from the insurance company based on how many people are enrolled in the plan. You pay a copay based on a set fee for certain services when you visit the dentist.
- Less expensive than other dental insurance options
- No deductibles or annual maximums
- You may have to pay the full amount if you go to an out-of-network dentist.
Most dental plans are PPO plans and many people prefer these plans. The cost is usually higher for a PPO plan but the flexibility to use any dentist can be a major benefit. Most providers offer more options for PPO plans than DHMO plans.
What Does Dental Insurance Cover?
Dental plan coverage varies widely. It’s recommended that you check with any potential providers to see what their dental insurance plans specifically cover.
There are certain procedures that are commonly covered among providers in Iowa. You can generally expect coverage for things like:
- Preventive care
- Routine teeth cleaning
- Root canals
- Tooth extraction
Dental plans commonly have a 100-80-50 coinsurance structure. These numbers represent the percentage of a service the insurance company pays. The coverage is broken down into 3 categories of services:
- Preventive: Many plans provide preventive care with 100% coverage. This means procedures such as regular cleanings or annual checkups cost nothing out of pocket for you.
- Basic Coverage: You are responsible for 20% of the cost of basic coverage, and your insurance plan pays the other 80%. Most plans consider minor dental work like fillings to be basic coverage.
- Invasive Coverage: The final level of coverage requires you and your insurance provider to split the cost of the procedure right down the middle. This covers more invasive or major dental procedures like root canals.
Not all plans follow a 100-80-50 coverage structure. Read any dental plans you’re considering carefully to see what services are paid at each coinsurance rate.
What Does Dental Insurance Not Cover?
There are a few procedures and services not usually covered by dental insurance. These are known as exclusions. If you require services excluded from your plan, you have to pay the full cost yourself.
The most common exclusions include:
- Cosmetic procedures, such as teeth whitening
- Major preexisting conditions you had before enrolling in the insurance plan
Just as different plans cover different procedures, exclusions vary by plan. Carefully consider what procedures you may need in the future before you choose a dental insurance plan.
Average Cost of Dental Insurance in Iowa
The average cost of dental insurance is about $350 per year. Prices for dental insurance in Iowa tend to be close to average. You can find basic preventive coverage for $15–$20 per month. More inclusive coverage can cost up to $60 per month or more.
Your age, gender and coverage requirements make a difference in the cost of dental insurance in Iowa. For example, a plan with a high deductible and low annual benefit maximum has a low monthly cost. Coverage excludes major procedures and preventive care is only covered at 80% coinsurance, so you’ll have to pay 20% for preventive services.
On the other hand, you could find a plan that has a higher monthly cost — probably with a low deductible and high maximum benefit. The plan provides a high level of coverage for most dental services.
Ask providers for discounts to find affordable dental insurance. Most dental plans don’t have the same type of discounts you might find from car or homeowners insurance but you may be able to reduce your costs.
One of the most common discounts for dental insurance is to add vision insurance to your dental plan. A policy that combines dental and vision usually costs less than 2 separate policies.
What to Look for in a Dental Provider
Your main goal for dental insurance should be to find a plan that is affordable for your budget and offers enough coverage for your dental needs. Cost and coverage are only part of a dental insurance plan.
As you shop for dental insurance plans in Iowa, ask yourself these questions about the insurance providers and coverage options:
- Is the overall cost affordable — including premiums, deductibles and coinsurance?
- Does the company offer several plan options that meet my needs?
- Can the company be contacted through different channels, such as social media, phone, email or by mail?
- Are customer service representatives responsive and friendly?
- Is my dentist included in the dental network?
- Is the company financially stable enough to pay out dental claims in the future?
Best Dental Insurance Providers in Iowa
The sheer amount of options for dental insurance in Iowa can make it difficult to find the plan that’s right for you. We picked the best dental insurance for different criteria and listed them below to help you decide which provider is the right fit.
1. UnitedHealthcare: Best Overall
UnitedHealthcare is a major health insurance provider and has a large number of dental plans as well. There are plenty of affordable coverage options for almost anyone.
Choose from a basic plan to help cover preventive dental costs. You can also find dental plans with high annual maximums to help pay for more expensive dental procedures. Some plans feature annual maximums between $2,000–$3,000.
2. Humana: Cheapest Dental Insurance in Iowa
Humana doesn’t offer many plan options.
However, it does offer one of the cheapest dental insurance plans in Iowa. The best part about the inexpensive plan is the coverage it provides. Even though the price is lower, the plan features average annual maximums and short waiting periods.
3. Delta Dental: Best for Low Deductibles
Delta Dental provides several plan options in Iowa. The premium plan offers one of the lowest deductibles available for dental insurance. You’ll pay just a $25 deductible to visit an in-network Delta Dental provider.
It should be easy to find a dentist in the network — it’s one of the largest dental networks in the country.
4. Ameritas: Best for Dental and Vision Coverage
Ameritas provides a range of dental plans that include vision benefits at no extra cost. Some plans offer a $100 yearly credit toward any vision service you need. Apply this credit to an annual eye exam or new glasses.
Ameritas dental plans also feature annual maximums that can partially carry over to the next year if you don’t use the full amount.
5. Cigna: Best for Affordable Preventive Coverage
Cigna offers a dental insurance plan in Iowa for a low $16 per month. This basic plan covers preventive care like teeth cleaning at no cost to you. There are no benefits for other procedures, such as root canals or tooth extraction. This plan is a great option for reducing your cost of preventive dental care if you have generally good oral health.
Get Dental Coverage in Iowa
The most important thing to remember as you pick a dental insurance provider is to choose a plan that meets your needs without breaking your budget. Remember to consider all of the costs that go with a dental plan, such as deductibles or coinsurance.
Get dental insurance quotes from a handful of insurers today to find a plan that works for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
A dental insurance plan charges a premium in exchange for covered benefits. Unlike health insurance plans, dental insurance plans usually have a cap on benefits, which means your plan may stop providing coverage once you reach the annual cap, often between 1k and 3K. Like other types of healthcare insurance, dental insurance focuses coverage on essential services, like cleanings, fillings, etc. Many plans don’t cover braces or elective cosmetic procedures. Get the cheapest premium here.
Some health insurance plans bundle dental coverage as well but, in many cases, dental insurance is a separate plan. Healthcare plans that are ACA-compliant are required to offer dental coverage to children but there is no requirement that adults have dental insurance coverage. Choosing a separate dental insurance plan can be a cost-saving step and helps make dental health costs more predictable. Check out our best providers for the cheapest rate.
Your choices for dental insurance plans are similar to health insurance choices. You can choose from a dental HMO, which helps to keep premium costs low by keeping services within controlled network. Dental PPOs give more freedom to choose your dentist and care but cost more than HMO plans. A third option is called a dental indemnity plan, which pays a fixed amount or percentage for covered services. Compare quotes from our top providers for the best price.
Dental Insurance Methodology
To determine the best dental insurance providers, we pored through all United States carriers. We winnowed the list by only including companies that have a wide coverage area and product offering. To further break down the list to the true best dental insurance providers, we gave weight to carriers that offer discounts, are available in all states and have multiple payment plan options.
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