You’ve probably spent a lifetime being told by your dentist that it’s important to brush your teeth and floss daily. If so, it might be surprising to learn that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) doesn’t consider dental care to be an essential health benefit.
Most ACA-compliant plans don’t include coverage for any form of dental care. You’ll almost always need to purchase a separate plan from a dental insurance provider in your state if you want to cover your dental insurance needs. Thankfully, there are a number of affordable dental insurance plans available in Connecticut that can fit you.
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Quick Look: Best Dental Insurance in Connecticut
- Humana: Best Overall
- Physicians Mutual: Cheapest
- Cigna: Best Customer Service
- Guardian Direct: Best for Finding a New Dentist
- AARP: Best for Seniors
We’re taking a closer look at dental insurance options in Connecticut. We’ll look at the most common types of dental insurance plans you might see as well as what you should look for in a plan provider. We’ll also give you a crash course in what your insurance likely does and doesn’t cover. Finally, we’ll introduce you to some of the best dental insurance providers in Connecticut that are currently accepting new policyholders.
Types of Dental Coverage
There are multiple types of dental insurance plans you can choose from — and they’re simpler and easier to understand than health insurance tiers. There are 2 main types of dental insurance plans you’ll likely see when you comparison shop:
- Preferred provider organizations (PPOs) give you more freedom to choose which dental service provider you want to see. You’ll receive a list of dentists and dental service providers in your area who are in your network. If you choose to see an in-network dentist, you’ll receive a discount on your services. If you want to see an out-of-network service provider, you can still use your insurance — but you’ll pay more for treatments. PPOs can be an asset if you already have a dentist you enjoy seeing but cost more than DHMOs.
- Dental health maintenance organizations (DHMOs). DHMOs are similar to HMO health insurance plans in that you can only see in-network service providers. DHMOs are more affordable than PPO plans, but give you a choice of dental health service providers.
You may also have the opportunity to join a dental referral or discount program. These programs aren’t technically insurance because they don’t cover any of the costs of your treatments and services. Instead, the dentists involved in the plan agree to give you a discount in exchange for a subscription fee. Because these plans don’t cover any percentage of your costs and aren’t available nationwide, we won’t consider them in this review.
What Does Dental Insurance Cover?
If you have an ACA-compliant health insurance plan, you might expect that dental insurance providers also have a list of set benefits they must provide. This isn’t actually the case — dental insurance providers have much more freedom to pick and choose what they want to cover. This means that you need to read through your plan’s policy inclusions thoroughly so you understand the specific services that your plan covers.
When you compare dental insurance benefits, you’ll often see inclusions listed as a series of 3 numbers. These numbers represent the percentage of your treatment costs that your insurance will pay for. The most common benefits schedule is the “100-80-50” schedule. If you have a 100-80-50 plan, it means that your insurance will pay for —
- 100% of your preventive care costs, which include regular, routine services that help prevent oral health issues. Cleanings, X-rays and oral exams are all usually considered preventive care.
- 80% of basic services costs, which are routine scheduled treatments used to correct common oral health issues. Cavity fillings, root canals and crowns are all usually considered to be basic services.
- 50% of major services costs, which are expensive, time-consuming and invasive procedures used to correct very large oral issues. Bridges, dental implants and dentures are all usually considered major services.
Remember that dental insurance providers can choose which services fall into which categories. For example, many dental insurance providers consider root canals to be major services. Make sure to read your plan’s list of inclusions before you sign onto a policy.
What Does Dental Insurance Not Cover?
There are some services that dental insurance providers don’t offer coverage for, including:
- Cosmetic dentistry: Non-essential dental treatments (like teeth whitening) are almost never covered under dental insurance.
- Orthodontic services: Most dental insurance plans limit or exclude coverage for orthodontic treatments. Plans that include coverage for orthodontic services often have separate limitations on the number of cash benefits you can claim from your insurance provider. Most orthodontic benefits also only apply for children under the age of 19.
- Preexisting conditions: Unlike ACA-compliant health insurance plans, dental insurance providers don’t need to cover preexisting conditions that you have when you sign onto your policy. If you do have a preexisting condition, your insurance provider may limit or exclude coverage and treatments based around your condition.
These are just a few of the most common examples of services that dental insurance doesn’t cover. Don’t assume that any specific treatment or service is covered unless you see it specifically listed in your plan’s list of benefits.
Average Cost of Dental Insurance in Connecticut
Connecticut residents pay about the same amount for dental insurance as residents of other states. The average dental insurance policyholder pays about $30 to $45 per month for an individual plan.
What to Look for in a Dental Insurance Provider
When you compare dental insurance plans, look for these 4 key benefits.
- Availability in your area: Not every dental insurance provider is authorized to sell insurance plans in every state and county. Before you start comparing plan benefits and costs, check to make sure that your provider covers your area.
- Low deductibles: A deductible is a set amount of money that you need to spend before your insurance benefits begin. If your plan has a very high deductible and you don’t meet it, you might end up losing money by buying dental insurance. Look for a plan with a reasonable deductible and make sure that you can afford it.
- High maximum benefits: Most dental insurance plans have limitations on the dollar amount of cash benefits you can claim in a year. If your plan has a low maximum benefit threshold, you may reach it quickly — and end up paying for your own dental care for the rest of the year. Look for a plan with high maximums to get the most out of your insurance plan.
Best Dental Insurance Providers in CT
Now that you understand how dental insurance in Connecticut works, let’s take a look at a few of our favorite plan offerings.
1. Humana: Best Overall
Looking for affordable dental insurance but still want to customize your plan? Consider an insurance policy from Humana. Humana offers 3 plan tiers in Connecticut and plans are available for as little as $19 a month. Getting a quote with Humana’s website is also intuitive and simple — just enter your zip code, date of birth and gender to browse your options.
You’ll be able to see exactly what each plan does and doesn’t cover which makes it easy to choose the right option for you. Affordable coverage and a simple plan selection process means that Humana is our top choice for dental insurance in CT.
2. Physicians Mutual: Cheapest Dental Insurance in CT
Physicians Mutual offers quick, affordable dental coverage options across the United States. Its plans begin at just $25 a month in Connecticut with 1 major benefit — no deductible or annual maximums, even on its economy plans.
This can mean serious savings later down the line, especially if you need a very expensive procedure. You can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars annually with its generous coverage, though a plan from Physicians Mutual might cost a few more dollars each month.
3. Cigna: Best Customer Service
Consider a plan from Cigna if you’re the type of person who gets peace of mind from knowing you have around-the-clock customer service. Cigna offers a 24/7 customer service and support line that operates every day of the year.
You’ll have someone on the line if you have any questions about your benefits, plans and coverage choices. Cigna’s Health Information Line also gives you access to a trained clinician to answer your dental health questions.
4. Guardian Direct: Best for Finding a New Dentist
It can be tough to find a dentist that accepts your insurance when you’re moving to a new area. Guardian Direct’s “Find a Dentist” tool doesn’t just show you a list of dentists in your area — it also shows you which Guardian plans each office accepts.
Guardian Direct also offers a number of plan options in Connecticut that start at just $30 a month. Guardian Direct’s plans are all also PPO plans, which means that if you do already have a dentist you enjoy seeing, you can still see him or her with a Guardian plan.
5. AARP: Best for Senior Citizens
If you’re an AARP member, you can save on your dental insurance when you buy your insurance through AARP. AARP has a policy partnership with Delta Dental, one of the largest dental insurance providers in the United States.
You can get dental insurance with a $40 deductible and up to $1,500 in annual coverage when you take advantage of an AARP Delta plan. You’ll also be able to see any dentist you’d like, as all plan offerings are structured as PPOs.
Protect Your Smile in the Constitution State
The most important thing to consider when you compare dental insurance plans? Your plan inclusions. Remember that dental plans don’t have any required inclusions like CAC-approved healthcare plans. This means that you shouldn’t assume that any individual procedure or treatment is covered unless you see it specifically in your list of inclusions.
Don’t be afraid to take plenty of time comparing plans and “shopping around” until you find the one that’s right for you and your family. The last thing you want is to pay for dental insurance, have an emergency and only then find out that your coverage isn’t as extensive as you thought.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Q: How does dental insurance work?
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.
2) Q: Is dental coverage part of health insurance?
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.
3) Q: What kinds of dental insurance are available?
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.