Best Cheap Oregon Dental Insurance

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Contributor, Benzinga
Updated: July 22, 2021

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After a lifetime of being reminded to brush your teeth, floss daily and visit the dentist regularly, many people are surprised to learn that dental care isn’t considered an “essential benefit” by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If you want coverage for your dentist’s office visits, you’ll need to buy a separate dental insurance plan — complete with its list of inclusions, exclusions and premium. But what exactly is dental insurance and what does it cover?

Today, we’ll give you a crash course on everything you need to know about dental insurance before you choose a plan. We’ll introduce you to the types of dental insurance plans available, let you know what’s covered (and what isn’t) and get you started with a few of our favorite plan providers in Oregon. 

The Best Dental Insurance in Oregon is:

Types of Dental Coverage

When you compare dental insurance plans, you may see multiple plan types offered by a single company. There are 2 main types of dental insurance plans:

  • Dental health maintenance organizations (DHMOs): DHMO plans are the most affordable dental insurance options. When you sign onto a plan, you’ll receive a list of in-network dental service providers who accept your insurance. You’ll need to see a service provider in your network if you want to use your benefits. DHMOs give you less freedom to choose which dentist you see, but they’re ideal for shoppers on a budget.
  • Preferred provider organizations (PPOs): PPO plans are more expensive than DHMOs but give you more freedom to use your benefits. Though you can get a discount on your plan if you see an in-network provider, PPOs allow you to see any dentist or dental service provider you want and still use your benefits. A PPO is a great option if you already have a dentist you enjoy seeing and are willing to pay extra for increased coverage.

You may also see companies offering “discount” or “benefit” plans. These plans are usually very low-cost, but they aren’t technically a form of insurance because they don’t cover any percentage of your care costs. Instead, they give you access to exclusive treatment discounts when you visit a participating dental service provider. For the sake of this article, we won’t consider these discount plans when we rank insurance providers. 

What Does Dental Insurance Cover?

Unlike health insurance, there is no set list of required benefits your dental insurance provider needs to offer. Each individual insurance provider is free to choose which services and procedures are covered and how much they’ll pay for each. This makes it especially important to carefully read your plan’s list of inclusions and exclusions before you sign on.

Many dental insurance plans follow the “100-80-50” benefits schedule. If you have a 100-80-50 plan, it means that your insurance will cover:

  • 100% of preventive care costs. Preventive care includes things like cleanings, x-rays and exams.
  • 80% of basic service costs. Basic services usually include routine procedures like cavity fillings, root canals and crowns.
  • 50% of major service costs. Major services usually include procedures like denture molds, bridges and tooth extractions. Some dental insurance companies also consider root canals to be major services.

The 100-80-50 benefit schedule is the most common benefit schedule but that doesn’t guarantee that your insurance company will follow it. Read your plan terms to learn more about exactly what is and isn’t covered on your insurance. 

What Does Dental Insurance Not Cover? 

No matter which type of dental insurance plan you choose, there are a few things you probably won’t be covered for:

  • Cosmetic treatments: No dental insurance plan includes coverage for purely cosmetic treatments like laser whitening or nonessential veneers.  
  • Preexisting conditions: Dental insurance companies often limit or exclude coverage for preexisting dental health conditions. If you have a chronic oral health issue, expect your insurance company to add a special clause into your plan that limits your benefits.
  • Excluded treatments and services: Dental insurance companies have almost unlimited freedom to choose which treatments and procedures they’ll cover. This means that many dental insurance companies exclude coverage for expensive treatments, even if they’re considered medically necessary. For example, orthodontia and sealants are often excluded from coverage despite the fact that they aren’t cosmetic treatments. 

Average Cost of Dental Insurance in Oregon

The cost of dental insurance in Oregon is about on-par with costs across the country. As an individual, expect to pay between $30–$45 per month for coverage. If you need a family plan, you can expect to pay around $50–$75 per month for coverage.  

What to Look for in a Dental Insurance Provider

Choosing the right dental insurance can mean the difference between financial peace of mind and paying thousands out of pocket. Here are a few key characteristics you should look for before you sign onto a dental insurance plan:

  • A high annual maximum: Most dental plans include an annual maximum benefit limit that you can claim. If you hit your maximum, you’ll need to pay the remainder of your dental care costs that year out of pocket. Look for a plan with a high annual maximum that you can afford to get the most out of your coverage.
  • A low deductible: Your plan’s deductible is the amount of money you need to pay for your own care before your insurance starts paying your bills. If you have a $100 deductible, for example, you need to spend $100 on dental care within one year; after you hit $100, your insurance covers the remaining percentage of your bill according to your plan’s terms. Choose a plan with a low deductible to save the most on your care costs.
  • Availability in your area: Like most types of insurance, all dental insurance plans aren’t available in all areas. Make sure that a certain plan provider offers plans in Oregon before you add them to your list of options. 

Best Dental Insurance Providers in Oregon

Now that you know how dental insurance in Oregon works, it’s time to choose a provider. Start your search with a few of our favorite local insurance providers offering plans in the Beaver State. 

Cigna Medicare Advantage
Best For
  • Easy access to benefits
securely through Cigna Medicare Advantage's website

1. Cigna: Best Overall

Cigna is one of the largest dental insurance providers in the country — and its offerings in Oregon are impressive. Cigna’s plans are available from just $23 per month, and all of its plans include $0 deductibles for preventive care. In most areas of Oregon, you’ll be able to choose between 3 plan options, allowing you to customize your coverage to fit your budget.

Cigna also offers a 24/7 customer service line and a network of over 90,000 dentists to choose from. With a number of plan choices, affordable coverage options, responsive customer service and a wide network of providers, Cigna is our first choice for dental insurance in Oregon. 

Physicians Mutual Health
securely through Physicians Mutual Health's website

2. Physicians Mutual: Cheapest Dental Insurance

If you’re only interested in finding the most affordable dental insurance in Oregon, be sure to consider a plan from Physicians Mutual.

In our review, Physicians Mutual offered some of the most affordable dental insurance in the state, with plans available from just $25 per month.

Its plans also offer PPO coverage and $0 deductibles at all levels, which can help you save even more on your dental care. Low-cost plans are available for both individuals and families, and getting a quote takes less than 30 seconds. 

UnitedHealthCare Health Insurance
Best For
  • Same day coverage available

3. UnitedHealthcare: Best for Plan Choice

Having a number of plans to choose from can help you best personalize your coverage to your family’s needs. When it comes to plan options, UnitedHealthcare comes out on top. UnitedHealthcare offers 10 plan choices in most parts of Oregon, and each plan contains its own list of benefits and deductible.

From DHMOs to PPOs, this insurance company has a plan for every family and budget. If you’re a DIY shopper who wants to carefully compare multiple plans and balance costs and coverage, be sure to get a quote. 

Guardian Dental Insurance
Best For
  • Young adults and families with children and teens
securely through Guardian Dental Insurance's website

4. Guardian Direct: Best for PPO Coverage

It can be hard to find a great dentist. If you have a dentist that you and your family enjoy seeing, you probably don’t want to go through the hassle of finding a new one to fit your plan.

But you might not be able to justify spending extra on a PPO plan just to continue seeing your dentist. If you’re looking for the most affordable PPO plan on the market, be sure to get a quote from Guardian Direct.

Guardian Direct has PPO plans available in Oregon from just $23 per month. Guardian Direct’s dentist search feature also quickly directs you to dentists in your area who are in-network, allowing you to save even more on treatments. 

Ameritas Dental Insurance
Best For
  • Adult and child orthodontia benefits
securely through Ameritas Dental Insurance's website

5. Ameritas: Best for Orthodontics Coverage

Orthodontic treatments usually aren’t covered by dental insurance providers. Ameritas is one of the few insurance companies in Oregon that does offer coverage for orthodontic treatments. Plans with orthodontics inclusion begin at $35 per month with $1,000 worth of annual benefits.

You can also up your coverage to $2,000 per year for just $42 per month. Ameritas offers both DHMO and PPO plans, so you can get the orthodontics coverage you need, see the dentist you want and keep your budget on track. 

Smiling Brighter with Great Coverage

Comparing dental insurance plans can be annoying. You might feel the temptation to throw in the towel and choose the first plan you see — especially if you’ve already been comparing plans for a while. 

The only way to ensure that you’re getting the best coverage possible is to carefully look at all of your plan choices. Create a spreadsheet that organizes your options by coverage type, inclusions and cost. This will help you keep your options sorted — and help you choose the best dental insurance for your family. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q
What kinds of dental insurance are available?
A

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.

Q
Is dental coverage part of health insurance?
A

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.

Q
How does dental insurance work?
A

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.

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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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