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Everyone knows that if you want to have healthy teeth, you need to visit your dentist at least twice each year. What many Americans don’t know, however, is that dental care isn’t included under most health insurance plans.
To protect your smile, you’ll need to buy a separate dental insurance plan — complete with its own terms and deductible. But how exactly does dental insurance work, and which plan provider should you choose?
Take a closer look at dental insurance in New Hampshire, including what is (and isn’t) covered and what you can expect to pay. Start now with our review some of our favorite dental insurance companies in the Granite State.
Best Dental Insurance in New Hampshire:
- Smart Health Dental: Best Overall in NH
- Careington: Best for Immediate Coverage
- Dentalplans.com: Best for Dental Savings Plans
- Guardian Direct: Best for Quick Quotes
- Ameritas: Best for Orthodontic Coverage
Types of Dental Coverage
When you compare dental insurance plans, you might see multiple plans offered from a single insurance company. Understanding the differences among dental insurance plans can help you choose the type of plan that’s best for you.
There are 2 main types of dental insurance plans:
- Dental health maintenance organizations (DHMOs). A DHMO is similar to a health insurance HMO. When you sign onto a DHMO, you’ll need to choose a dental service provider from a pre-approved list of in-network practices. If you go outside of your network, you can't use your benefits. DHMOs are usually the most affordable option, but they also offer you the least amount of freedom to choose your dentist.
- Preferred provider organizations (PPOs). PPOs allow you to see any dentist or dental service provider you like and still use your benefits. You may be able to get an additional discount on your service or premium if you do see an in-network provider. PPOs are more expensive than DHMOs, but they’re a good choice if you want to see a particular dentist.
Occasionally, you might see an insurance provider offering another type of plan called a “benefit,” “discount” or “referral” plan. These plans aren’t technically insurance because they don’t cover any of your treatment costs. Instead, they function as a subscription-type model that gives you a discount on dental services when you visit certain providers. For the sake of this article, we won’t consider these plans in our review.
What Does Dental Insurance Cover?
Unlike health insurance providers, dental insurance providers don’t have a set list of benefits that they must offer their policyholders. Dental insurance companies are free to include or exclude almost any service or procedure from plans. This makes reading and understanding your benefits crucially important. The last thing you want is to sign onto a plan, pay months of premiums and then find out you aren’t as protected as you thought you were when you need to use your benefits.
Most dental insurance plans follow a “100-80-50” benefits schedule. If you have a 100-80-50 plan, it means that your insurance provider will pay for:
- 100% of preventive care costs. Preventive care includes treatments like cleanings, x-rays and exams.
- 80% of basic procedure costs. Basic procedures include things like root canals, cavity fillings and crowns.
- 50% of major procedure costs. Major procedures include things like tooth extractions, bridges and denture molds.
Every individual company can choose what counts as a preventive, basic and major procedure. For example, some insurance companies consider root canals to be basic procedures, while others consider them major procedures. The best dental insurance plans will clearly tell you which procedures fall into which categories before you sign onto a plan.
What Does Dental Insurance Not Cover?
There are a few services and procedures that aren’t covered by any type of dental insurance plan. You’ll likely see exclusions for the following treatment areas:
- Preexisting conditions. Health insurance companies must cover preexisting conditions as a requirement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, dental insurance providers don’t have to follow the same standard. If you already have a dental or oral health issue, you can expect your dental insurance provider to limit your coverage in that area.
- Orthodontia. Orthodontic treatments like braces and headgear are often deemed medically necessary by dental professionals. Despite this, most dental insurance plans don’t include any type of coverage for orthodontia.
- Cosmetic treatments. No dental insurance plan offers coverage for treatments that aren’t medically necessary. Treatments like cosmetic veneers and teeth whitening won’t be included in your list of dental plan benefits.
Average Cost of Dental Insurance in New Hampshire
The average cost of dental insurance in New Hampshire is similar to average costs throughout the U.S. Individuals can expect to pay between $30 and $45 per month for their plan.
What to Look for in a Dental Insurance Provider
Some dental insurance plans are better than others. When you compare plans, look for these key characteristics to get the most for your money:
- A high annual maximum. Almost every dental insurance plan includes an annual maximum benefit limit that you can claim. If you hit your maximum, you’ll need to cover the remainder of your care costs. Look for a plan with a high annual maximum.
- Coverage available in your area. Not every dental insurance provider can offer plans in every state. Before you start comparing plan benefits, make sure the insurance provider you’re considering offers plans in New Hampshire.
- An affordable deductible. Your plan deductible is the amount of money you need to spend on your own dental care before your insurance kicks in and starts covering your bills. Choose a plan with a deductible you can afford to help you avoid future financial strain.
Best Dental Insurance Providers in NH
Now that you understand the basics of how dental insurance works, let’s take a look at some of our favorite insurance providers.
1. Smart Health Dental: Best Overall
Smart Health Dental (SHD) offers multiple dental insurance and non-insurance plan options. It has an extensive national network of over 200,000 licensed dental providers. No waiting periods
There are no waiting periods, and you’ll find dental insurance plans with up to 100% coverage on preventive procedures.
Call for a free quote Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.
2. Careington: Best for Immediate Coverage
Careington Dental Insurance isn’t technically insurance — it’s a dental savings plan. Enrolling in a Careington plan allows you access to dental care from participating providers at a reduced cost. You’ll find a large network of participating dentists, immediate coverage and no age limits.
Its 500 Savings Plan is the most popular. This plan offers an average of 20% to 60% off of standard fees for most dental procedures, including routine exams, teeth cleaning for both adults and children and root canals. The 500 Dental Savings Plan also offers 20% off of orthodontics such as braces. And you’ll also receive unlimited access to eDocAmerica, a free email service to ask dentists questions.
3. Dentalplans.com: Best for Dental Savings Plans
Dentalplans.com is a hub for you to search and find a dental savings plan. Dental savings plans are not insurance. But your monthly membership buys you a savings card to present at the dentist of your choice for a percentage off the price of your services.
Dental savings plans can be an affordable alternative to insurance. Your plan works through nationwide network of dentists that offer 10 to 60% savings on preventive and restorative treatments.
Dentalplans.com is the perfect place to find your savings plan. If you find the same dental savings product at a lower cost, call its AtYourService® Team. It will match the price offered by online competitors.
4. Guardian Direct: Best for Quick Quotes
Sometimes, you need coverage fast — and you can’t afford to wait on the phone with a representative for an hour just to see how much you’ll pay for insurance. Guardian Direct offers incredibly fast quotes and allows you to sign onto a plan the same day.
Just enter your ZIP code, enter information about the individuals you want on your plan and get your quote. Plans from Guardian Direct are also exceptionally affordable, starting at just $26 per month for PPO coverage.
5. Ameritas Best for Orthodontics Coverage
Though most dental plans don’t cover orthodontics, it is possible to come across a rare insurance provider who does offer coverage for these treatments. Ameritas is 1 of the only dental insurance providers in New Hampshire that offers orthodontics coverage.
Plans with orthodontic benefits start from just $50 per month, and many of its plans also include up to $2,000 worth of benefits annually. Its plans also have no waiting periods or enrollment fees, and many include PPO coverage.
Smiling Brighter with Great Coverage
Getting the dental insurance you need doesn’t have to be a hassle. Many dental insurance companies now allow you to quickly get a quote online, and you can compare a number of plan choices in as little as an afternoon. Try to collect at least 5 quotes before you choose a plan — this will ensure that you’re getting the best coverage possible and not overpaying for your benefits.
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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