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Finally found a dental insurance provider you love only to realize you might encounter a waiting period before coverage begins? Because your search for dental insurance is often time sensitive, finding the appropriate policy is more important than ever. Use this information to research dental insurers, avoid waiting periods and save money.
Best Dental Insurance With No Waiting Period
Looking for the best dental insurance can be difficult if you don’t know where to start. While this is not an exhaustive list of carriers that do not impose waiting periods on certain services, it's a great place to start.
Smart Health Dental
Smart Health Dental is a unique carrier that offers no-waiting period coverage for your dental needs with:
- A network of over 200,000 dentists
- 2 plans
- Dental discount card
- Dedicated care coordinator when you call customer support
You can use this carrier to save money with the discount card or basic coverage, or you might step up to get a little more coverage for major procedures.
MetLife offers no waiting periods for major procedures on its Veterans Affairs dental plan, but the firm also may offer a no waiting period policy in your state.
Delta offers and advertises no waiting period dental policies depending on the state. You can easily visit Delta’s website and learn more about the coverage available in your location.
Humana’s dental preferred provider organization (PPO) plan has no waiting period for preventative care, 6 months for basic care and 12 months for major services. However, you can offset that waiting period if you had dental coverage over the last 12 months.
- securely through UnitedHealthcare Dental's websiteBest For:Large suite of productsRating:
Generally, United Healthcare dental plans have no waiting period for preventative care, but there may be a waiting period for basics or major procedures. Check coverage offerings in your state before proceeding.
- securely through Ameritas Dental Insurance's websiteBest For:Adult and child orthodontia benefitsRating:
Ameritas has a few dental plans, including Indemnity w/PPO, Standard PPO and Preventative PPO. There is no waiting period for these plans, and 12-month waiting period for the standard PPO when seeking orthodontic care.
Because you can expect to pay less per month than you would for health insurance, you might buy into a dental insurance plan quickly so that you can visit the dentist or send your children. If you find a policy without a waiting period — like the ones above — you can avoid discomfort and stress concerning your dental health.
Spirit Dental & Vision
- securely through Spirit Dental & Vision's websiteBest For:Dental + Vision PlansRating:
Spirit Dental & Vision is a nationwide carrier that offers a range of PPO dental insurance plan. Pricing starts at $20 in most regions, and also includes:
- No waiting periods
- Inclusive plans
- Several preventative appointments covered
- Annual maximums up to $5,000
- $100 lifetime deductible is only paid once
- Some plans even cover orthodontic care
- Option to add vision insurance starting at $7 in most states
You can reach out to spirit at any time to learn more about your coverage options, and you can get dental plans for yourself or your family with ease.
Why do Insurance Plans Include a Waiting Period?
Insurance carriers often allow their corporate clients to enact a waiting period before coverage begins. The waiting period is frequently used by companies that have a high turnover rate; setting a waiting period requires employees to work diligently and buy into the corporate culture before benefits begin.
Does the waiting period apply to all benefits? Generally, no. However, you should review the waiting periods for certain procedures and determine whether you require an exemption.
Waiting periods also may apply to pre-existing conditions. In cases such as these, the insurer may have a much longer waiting or “exclusion” period.
If you, for example, have a waiting period of 18 months for oral cancers, you will receive credit for the 9 months of coverage you had before this policy began. In short, your waiting period drops proportionate to the duration of your previous coverage.
Can My Dental Insurance Carrier Waive a Waiting Period?
Insurance carriers and/or employers can waive your waiting period at any time, but that is at the carrier’s/employer’s discretion. Collect as much documentation as possible, contact the carrier or your employer’s insurance department and seek a waiver. Your dentist may even write a letter stating that your treatment is medically necessary and simply cannot wait.
Types of Dental Coverage
There are a few different types of dental insurance — the difference between plans typically has to do with which dental service providers you can see on your network. Let’s take a look at a few of the different types of dental insurance plans you’ll see when you shop.
- Dental health maintenance organization (DHMO): DHMO plans work a lot like HMO health insurance plans. When you sign onto a DHMO plan, you’ll receive a list of dental health care providers that accept your insurance. You’ll need to see a dentist within your plan’s network if you want to use your insurance. You can’t use your insurance if you go outside of your network. DHMOs are typically the most affordable dental insurance you’ll find.
- Preferred provider organization (PPO): Unlike a DHMO plan, you can see any dentist you want on a PPO plan. You might be able to save money if you visit a dentist within your network, but you can elect to see any dentist for services and procedures. PPO plans typically cost more than DHMO plans — but might be worth the extra money if you have a dentist that you already enjoy seeing.
Occasionally, you might see a company that offers a dental benefits plan. These plans aren’t actually a type of insurance because they don’t actually pay for your care. Instead, as a member of your dental benefits plan, you get a set discount on any dental services you need.
Average Cost of Dental Insurance with No Waiting Period
Dental insurance with no waiting periods cost about the same as dental insurance with waiting periods. You can expect to pay about $30 to $45 a month for individual coverage. If you need a family plan, budget about $50 to $75 per month for coverage.
How to Buy Dental Insurance with No Waiting Period
Many dental insurance plans now allow you to enroll in a plan online. The first step to finding dental insurance without a waiting period is to compare plan options and the wait on each tier.
Dental insurance plans classify treatments and services into different tiers based on how frequently you may need them as well as price. Most plans have 3 distinct tiers:
- Preventive: Preventive dental care includes services that you receive regularly to maintain great oral health. Cleanings and X-rays are 2 examples of preventive services. Many dental insurance plans offer preventive care with no waiting periods.
- Basic: Basic services include treatments for routine oral health issues. Cavity fillings and simple tooth extractions are 2 examples of basic services. Though a few dental insurance companies offer basic services without a waiting period, most insurance companies have a small waiting period before you can receive these services.
- Major: Major services are intensive and expensive treatments and procedures that correct major oral health issues. Denture creation and bridges are 2 examples of major services. Even the best dental insurance won’t allow you to receive a major service without some kind of waiting period. This waiting period may be as long as 12 months for major services.
Unlike health insurance providers, dental insurance providers don’t need to guarantee any kind of “essential benefits” on each of their plans. This means that the specific services that are covered under each plan can vary significantly. Be sure to compare both services covered and waiting periods before you choose a plan.
What to Look for in a Dental Insurance Provider
How can you a dental insurance provider that’s right for you? Look for these 3 key features when you shop for dental insurance:
- High maximum benefits: Dental insurance companies can put both a yearly and lifetime cap on the amount they’ll payout for your dental care needs. Look for an insurance provider with a high maximum benefit limit to get the most out of your coverage.
- Availability in your area: Not every dental insurance is licensed to offer plans in all 50 states. Enter your ZIP code and be sure that your dental insurance provider services your area before you buy a plan.
- A low deductible: Your plan’s deductible is a set dollar amount you need to spend on your dental care costs before the insurance covers your care. Look for a plan with a deductible that you can afford — otherwise, you might end up overpaying for insurance you can’t use.
Understand Your Dental Insurance Before Signing Up
It can be easy to feel overwhelmed as you shop for dental insurance. Start by getting a few quotes from competing providers. Know all of your options and compare them side-by-side to ensure that you don’t end up overpaying for coverage.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I avoid a waiting period for dental insurance?
You can avoid a waiting period after signing up for dental insurance with certain dental health maintenance organizations (DHMO) and PPO plans. Insurers also may waive your waiting period if you had dental insurance at some point in the past 12 months.
What is the best dental insurance with no waiting period?
The best dental insurance is the policy that suits your budget, is accepted by your preferred dentist and provides you with the level of care you need. Finding a policy without a waiting period is also helpful but may not be critical in your situation.
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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