Dental Insurance With No Annual Maximum

Contributor, Benzinga

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When searching for a dental insurance plan, it’s incredibly important to consider each plan’s maximum annual benefit. Between exams, anesthesia, treatments and follow-up care, the cost of a moderate dental care need can quickly put a strain on your household budget. Even if you have insurance, knowing your dental insurance plan annual maximum and exploring dental insurance plans with no maximum are both must-dos when it comes to choosing affordable dental insurance. 

What is an Annual Maximum in Dental Insurance?

The annual maximum on your dental insurance plan is the total amount of money that your dental insurance provider is willing to pay out for your dental care needs in a one-year period. In some cases, a dental insurance provider will place a limit on the total amount it’ll pay out over the course of your life. For example, you might find a plan with a $1,000 annual maximum and a lifetime maximum of $50,000. If you reach your annual maximum, you’ll need to pay for 100% of your treatments out-of-pocket that year.

These limits can create problems if you require a major dental procedure. Imagine that you have a dental insurance policy with a $1,000 annual maximum and a 70% reimbursement level. You’ve already met your deductible, so you can begin using your insurance benefits. Now factor in that you need treatment for a major root canal. You receive treatment, and your dentist tells you that the cost of the treatment is $800.

In this example, you’ll use your insurance to pay for the majority of your treatment: $800 * 0.7 = $560, which is the amount of this procedure that your insurance covers. You’ll cover the remaining portion of your treatment costs. However, your maximum benefit is now $440 for the remainder of the year.

Later in the year, you need a crown, which ends up costing $900. Your portion is $900 * 0.7 = $630. However, because your insurance will only cover $440 worth of services for the remainder of the year, your insurance will release $440 to your dental care provider instead of the full 70% value of the treatment. You end up with a bill of $460 for this treatment. Your insurance provider won’t cover any percentage of the dental care that you receive before you reach your annual renewal date.

The bottom line: Once your insurance pays out your maximum benefit, you have no more insurance protection for the year. These factors make it crucially important to choose a plan that offers a high annual maximum benefit. 

Types of Dental Insurance

If you’re searching for a dental insurance plan without annual maximum benefits, you’ll be limited to a few choices, as annual maximums are now a common feature within the dental insurance industry. Thankfully, you can select from a few different options to receive quality dental insurance that you can depend on. 

Dental Health Maintenance Organizations (DHMOs): DHMO plans operate in a similar manner as HMO health insurance plans. DHMOs are the only type of dental insurance plan that comes without an annual maximum benefit limit. With a DHMO plan, you must see a dentist within your DHMO’s network. If you need to see a specialist, your dentist must refer you to one.

Most DHMO plans include annual cleaning and preventive treatments with $0 copays. If you need a more intensive procedure, you’ll usually need to pay a copayment to receive treatment. Like most other types of insurance, DHMO plans may have a deductible that you must reach before you can begin using your benefits. 

Dental discount plans: A dental discount plan is not the same thing as dental insurance. However, if you’re working on a very limited budget and you need coverage without an annual maximum benefit limit, a dental discount plan can provide you with a more affordable way to get coverage. There are also no deductibles associated with this option.

In order to join a dental discount plan, you’ll need to pay a membership fee in lieu of a monthly premium. These fees are usually very affordable and are paid annually. After joining the plan, you’ll be provided with a membership card, which you’ll present to your dentist’s office at the time of service. In exchange, you’ll receive a discount on select services. Be sure to use your membership with a dentist that belongs to the plan and accepts discounts to get the most out of your plan. 

Now that you understand your options when it comes to finding dental insurance without an annual maximum, let’s take a look at options you have for dental insurance and protection. 

Compare the Best Dental Insurance Providers

Dental insurance can be expensive, especially when you consider annual benefit limits. Thankfully, you can choose from a few dental insurance alternatives to protect your oral health without breaking the bank. Explore a few of our favorite options using the chart below. 

get started Call Now securely through UnitedHealthCare’s website
Best For
Cleaning + exams
N/A
1 Minute Review

Delta Dental is a dental insurance company with over 80 million members and a network of nearly 339,000 dentists nationwide. As the largest dental insurer in the U.S., Delta Dental offers coverage for individuals and families and small businesses and retirees. With over 60 years of experience, Delta Dental offers some of America’s best dental insurance plans.

Best For
  • Orthodontic procedures
  • Cleaning and exams
Pros
  • Nationwide coverage available
  • Multiple dental insurance options
  • Price matches discount providers
  • No waiting period for preventative treatments
Cons
  • Availability varies by state
get started Call Now securely through Ameritas’s website
Best For
Adult and child orthodontia benefits
N/A
1 Minute Review

Ameritas offers trusted health, dental and vision insurance plans. Find a provider in your area using America’s largest network.

Best For
  • Orthodontic benefits
  • People who have health or vision insurance with Ameritas
  • Large provider network
Pros
  • AM Best Rating A
  • Wide range of coverage options
  • Ortho coverage up to 50%
Cons
get started securely through Careington Dental’s website
Best For
No annual maximums
N/A
1 Minute Review

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.

Best For
  • Affordable coverage
  • No annual maximums
Pros
  • Large network of participating dentists
  • Immediate coverage
Cons
  • Some dentists don’t participate
  • Fee schedule can be confusing
get started Call Now securely through Guardian Dental’s website
Best For
Young adults and families with children and teens
N/A
1 Minute Review

Guardian provides comprehensive dental insurance you can buy independently or through your employer. It covers basic and preventive care, as well as more advanced services like root canals, crowns, bridges and dentures. 

Guardian has an extensive network of more than 120,000 providers. It offers a range of plans so you can choose a plan that fits your budget and your dental needs. Guardian’s plans start at just over $8 per month. 

The plans that Guardian sells directly are PPOs, which means you can see dentists outside the network, but you’ll pay more than if you see an in-network dentist. Guardian also offers HMOs through employers. HMOs may not pay if you see an out-of-network dentist. 

Guardian also offers teledentistry, so you can consult with a dentist from home if you’re experiencing issues. 

While everyone should consider dental insurance, Guardian’s affordable plans are especially good for young adults who might have a limited budget and limited dental care needs. Guardian also offers plans with orthodontic care (braces) and regular, preventive service for families. 

Best For
  • Families with children and teens
  • Young adults
Pros
  • Teledentistry
  • Range of plan options
  • Affordable basic plan
Cons
  • Mobile app has limited functionality
get started securely through Renaissance – Dental’s website

Best Dental Insurance with No Annual Maximum

Here are some trusted dental insurance providers who offer dental plans with no annual maximum.

Best For
Cleaning + exams
Pros
  • Nationwide coverage available
  • Multiple dental insurance options
  • Price matches discount providers
  • No waiting period for preventative treatments
Cons
  • Availability varies by state

Delta Dental 

Delta Dental is one of the top-rated dental insurance providers, and the company offers 2 options for coverage without an annual maximum.

  • DeltaCare USA: DeltaCare USA is Delta’s DHMO plan option. Though you’ll need to see a dentist who’s within the Delta Dental network, you’ll enjoy low or no co-payments for most preventive services. This plan also doesn’t have a deductible, which means that you can start using your benefits right away.
  • Delta Dental Patient Direct: Delta Dental Patient Direct is Delta Dental’s discount plan option. With this option, you’ll choose from a panel of dental professionals within Delta’s network. After receiving treatment, your dental office will provide you with a discount on services provided. You also won’t need to worry about deductibles or filing a claim with this option. 

Cigna Dental

If you’re looking for a dental insurance option for preventive care only, you may want to consider the Cigna Dental Preventive plan. Though this insurance plan doesn’t offer any type of coverage for non-routine treatments (like fillings or crowns), you won’t pay anything for your office visits and other routine services. Preventive coverage is available from just $19 a month. 

Best For
Member support
Pros
  • Offers multiple mobile app offerings to reward you for reaching fitness goals
  • Dental discount plans may include coverage for prescription drugs
  • Medicare Advantage plans available with no monthly premiums
Cons
  • Vision insurance only available when purchased with a dental plan
  • ACA-compliant health insurance no longer available

Aetna

Though Aetna only offers plan options in a few states, residents of Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Illinois and Pennsylvania can access individual dental insurance plans without working through an employer.

Aetna’s discount plan option is called by Aetna® Vital Savings and allows access to select discounts on dental services for less than $8. You’ll save 15% to 50% on dental services and treatments with your savings card. 

Best For
PPO plans
Pros
  • Partnerships with Walgreens and Walmart to bring you expanded prescription drug coverage
  • Rewards for healthy habits
  • Large provider network
Cons
  • HMO plans only available in 22 of 50 states
  • No short-term plans offered
  • Costlier plan required if you need international coverage

Humana

Humana offers 2 dental care options that come with no annual maximums.

  • Preventive Value: Humana’s Preventive Value plan offers you coverage for routine services at no cost to you. This plan includes coverage for routine cleanings and exams, x-rays, fillings and simple extractions. There is a $50 individual lifetime deductible, and you can begin using your coverage without a waiting period.  
  • Dental Savings Plan: In addition to a preventive insurance plan, Humana also offers a Dental Savings Plan for less than $8 a month. This plan is not a form of insurance but does include discounts on everything from fillings to dentures and orthodontics as long as you stay within Humana’s network. 
Best For
No annual maximums
Pros
  • Large network of participating dentists
  • Immediate coverage
Cons
  • Some dentists don’t participate
  • Fee schedule can be confusing

Careington

Unlike other dental coverage providers, Careington’s unique discount plans don’t limit the number of procedures that you can undergo on your plan.

Savings range from 20% discounts for cosmetic procedures and orthodontics to 60% for routine treatments and services. Discount plan membership is available from $8.95 a month for individuals. 

Finding Dental Insurance with No Annual Maximum Online

Many men and women are surprised at just how much even a minor oral health problem can cost them if they don’t have insurance. A single filling can cost upwards of $250, while more in-depth oral surgeries and procedures like dentures can cost more than $15,000. Understanding your insurance options and enrolling in a plan before you need to use your coverage can mean the difference between a healthy smile and putting off dental care even further.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

What does no annual maximum mean for dental insurance?

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What does no annual maximum mean for dental insurance?
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If a dental insurance plan has no annual maximum, it means that the insurance provider doesn’t put a cap on the total dollar-amount of benefits that you can claim in a year or over the course of your enrollment. Most dental insurance plans include annual maximum limitations. 

 

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What do I do if my dental insurance is maxed out?

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What do I do if my dental insurance is maxed out?
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The first thing that you should do when you realize that you need dental work past your maximum limit is to talk with your dentist. Many dentists offer medical payment plans that allow you to pay for your care over the course of months instead of all at once. Some dentists also offer cash payment discounts, which are completely separate from your insurance. 

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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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