Best Dental Insurance in New Jersey

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Contributor, Benzinga
February 15, 2022

Did you know most of our readers prefer for their dental insurance needs?

Smile! Such a small action does so many things. Smiling conveys a positive image. Smiling even makes you feel happier and healthier. Smiling is contagious. Regular trips to the dentist keep your smile at its best. Sounds like an oxymoron? Well, the better your oral health, the more reason you have to smile. 

Dental insurance helps take the bite out of visits to the dentist. Plus, regular dental visits can alert you to health concerns such as stroke and heart disease. So, if you want to continue to pass along that positivity, it’s good to learn more about the power behind your smile - dental insurance.   

Best Dental Insurance Providers in NJ

Delta Dental, MetLife Dental and Guardian Dental are the 3 best dental insurance companies in the U.S. Here are how the dental benefit providers in New Jersey stack up: 

1. Delta Dental

When it comes to dental insurance, Delta Dental works on a less-is-more and simpler strategy. Delta Dental touts less out-of-pocket fees, more dentists and simpler processes.

That means more money stays in your pocket, a plethora of dentists to choose from and saving your mind for the Sunday crossword rather than filling out loads of forms. Getting a quote online is easy. Finally, Delta Dental keeps its customers smiling. More than 95% of enrollees choose to stay with Delta Dental year over year.

2. Horizon BCBS

With good dental basics available at a low cost, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is the cheapest dental insurance in New Jersey. Focused on quality benefits at a reasonable price, Horizon negotiates deep discounts with its network of dentists.

That means members get big benefits for a small price. Horizon has a plethora of plans available for the choosing. Plans begin at the basic coverage level and build to extensive coverage.

3. UnitedHealthcare

Dental plans from UnitedHealthcare feature a range of coverages, including:

  • Preventative care: Cleanings and fluoride with no deductible and no waiting period.
  • Basic care: Services like simple fillings and emergency care.
  • Major services: Items like root canals and retainers.
  • A large network of providers.
  • Direct payment: You never submit claim forms.
  • No age restrictions.

You can reach out to UnitedHealthcare today to determine your eligibility and review plans that are available in your area.

4. Mutual of Omaha

As you might expect from a company headquartered in Nebraska, Mutual of Omaha is straightforward in its benefits explanations. Mutual says what it means and means what it says. So, what does that mean to you? You’ll know before signing up what to expect with coverage, deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses.

Mutual of Omaha knows that good dental care is important for your health. Knowing what to expect to pay for things like cleanings, fillings, crowns, bridges, dentures and root canals is important.

5. Humana

Humana is a pickers paradise. It has multiple plan options at varying coverage levels and an array of costs. Humana is a great option for the people who like to wade through options and pick the pieces to make a perfect plan.

Additionally, Humana members can choose their dentist, at no extra cost, in and out of network. If you want to save some money, however, pick an in-network dentist to earn a discount.

Types of Dental Coverage

Many types of dental plans are offered in New Jersey. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) the 3 most popular are PPO, DHMO and Discount or Referral Dental Plans. Let’s take a look. 

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO): A PPO is a dental plan that uses a network of dentists who agree to provide dental services for set fees. The dental services covered depends on the plan you choose. If you see an out-of-network dentist on a PPO plan, you will likely pay more out of pocket.

Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO): A DHMO is like an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization). Dentists in the network receive a monthly fee to provide covered dental services to you. The dentist gets paid regardless if you see them. Some services are fully covered as part of your plan. Other services require a copayment. 

Discount or referral dental plans: The company selling a discount or referral plan contracts with a group of dentists. These dentists agree to discount their dental fees. Discounts are usually applied to all services including cosmetic procedures. Discount or referral dental plans do not pay the dentist for any services received. Instead, you pay for treatment yourself at the reduced rate determined by the plan.  

What Does Dental Insurance Cover?

First, you need to know that dental insurance isn’t really insurance. The more precise term is “dental benefits.” Over time, the terms dental insurance and dental benefits became interchangeable. Insurance absorbs risk. Benefits cover some things in full, other things in part, and some things not at all.

When you’re looking for a dental plan, you will likely see it described as dental benefits rather than dental insurance. Yes, it’s confusing. Let’s take a look at insurance versus benefits. Dental benefits, or a dental plan, works a bit differently than health insurance. Both dental benefits and health insurance allow for preventive care.  

Here’s the difference. Insurance reimburses you for a loss. As explained by the ADA, “Your car insurance pays you the value of your car if it’s totaled in a crash, and your health insurance covers the cost of your hospital stay if you’re injured in that crash. In an insurance plan, the insurer carries the risk.” 

A benefit plan’s purpose is to cover certain predetermined costs. As mentioned, your dental benefit plan covers some procedures fully. The plan then pays a percentage of other procedures. Your dentist may recommend a cosmetic procedure like teeth whitening or veneers. Often, cosmetic procedures aren’t covered. Before accepting a recommendation for an elective procedure double-check what your benefits cover for a surprise-free visit. 

Typically, dental plans cover some or all the cost of preventive care.  Preventive care includes cleanings, X-rays, fillings, crowns, root canals and oral surgery. Some plans cover orthodontics (braces), periodontics (bridges) and prosthodontics (dentures). Normally, you’re covered for 2 preventive visits per year or every 6 months. 

What Does Dental Insurance Not Cover? 

Dental plans, like vehicles, come in different shapes, sizes and options. It’s handy to have some Excel skills so you can map out a spreadsheet with your dental provider options. List what they cover and the related costs. A little research will go a long way. 

Most dental plans cover 2 preventive visits per year or every 6 months. Look at the dental plans base options. Also, note any upgrade opportunities and the related costs. As an example, not all plans automatically include braces (orthodontics). If you have young children, you might want to choose a plan that includes ortho services. 

You might ask yourself, is dental insurance worth it? The quick answer is, yes! Smiling is a good thing. The right dental plan helps keep you calm, happy and healthy.  

Average Cost of Dental Insurance in New Jersey

Nationally the cost of dental insurance runs an average of $15 to $150 per month or $180 to $1,800 per year. Many factors influence this average price. For example, are you insuring just yourself or a family? The more people dental benefits need to cover, the more you’ll pay.

What deductible did you choose? The higher your deductible, or the amount you pay before insurance pays, the lower your rate. What services does the plan include? The more services included in your benefits means a higher price. Where do you live? Urban areas typically generate higher rates.

Discounts for dental insurance aren’t as common as discounts for insurance for things like homes and cars. Preventive maintenance is the best way to spend less. Keeping up with your bi-annual exams helps to catch problems early when they’re most easily treated. It could mean the difference between a filling and a root canal.  

If budget is your most pressing factor, there are some great affordable dental insurance options

What to Look for in a Dental Provider

When choosing a dental provider, there’s a lot to consider. You need to examine the coverage, the network and the fine print. 

Think about your life when contemplating what coverage fits you. Are you single, married or do you have kids? If you’re married, you need to figure out what works best for you and your significant other. And if you have kids you need to consider things like braces. Keep in mind that the ADA recommends kids visit an orthodontist at age 7. Thinking about who makes up your household helps you determine what coverage you need. Plus it helps simplify your options.

You also need to look at the dental networks associated with each plan. How many dentists are in your area? You should also check to see if they’re accepting new patients. If you live in Hackensack, then a network of dentists in and around Cape May isn’t going to help you. Do you already have a dentist in mind? Then you need to check if that dentist is on the network provider list.

Finally, look at the fine print. Now that you know what’s covered, you need to know when it’s covered. For example, if you know that you need to have those wicked wisdom teeth removed, can you have it done as soon as coverage begins? Or, is there a waiting period before your benefits begin? If you’re not in a hurry, then a delay is not a hassle. If you’re not up to waiting, look for a provider whose coverage begins immediately.  

Keep Calm and Smile On 

Dentists and anxiety could go hand in hand. But choosing dental benefits carefully can ease the process by taking things one bite at a time. Think about what you need and from your benefits. Consider your budget and how dental insurance fits. Look at your options and choose the best one for you and your household. You can keep calm and smile on. 

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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