If you already have health insurance but need more dental coverage, it’s time to look at a supplemental dental insurance plan. Here’s Benzinga’s guide to select the best additional coverage for you.
Best Supplemental Dental Insurance:
- Best Overall Supplemental Insurance: Delta Dental
- Best for Value: Guardian Dental
- Best for Dental Savings Plans: DentalPlans
- Best for Variety: MetLife Dental
- Best for Kids: Cigna
- Best Supplemental Dental Insurance:
- What is Supplemental Dental Insurance?
- Types of Dental Coverage
- Average Cost of Supplemental Dental Insurance
- What to Look for in a Dental Insurance Provider
- Best Supplemental Dental Insurance Providers
- Supplemental Dental Plans to Help You Smile
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is Supplemental Dental Insurance?
Supplemental dental insurance is meant to manage the costs of dental procedures not covered by your existing dental plan. Many dental insurance plans only pay up to $1,500. This is fine for cleanings or cavity fillings, so supplemental dental insurance is a great purchase when you know you may need more coverage. Some dental insurance plans also don’t cover preexisting conditions, so supplemental dental can help bridge the gap.
Types of Dental Coverage
Like most other types of insurance, you’ll find a wide range of supplemental dental insurance. You need to understand the 4 main types as you begin your search.
This is the least expensive option available. A dental HMO allows you to get dental care at a reduced cost from dentists within your plan’s network. If you choose a dentist outside the network, you’ll end up paying the full cost for care and procedures.
This employer-provided dental insurance often comes with higher premiums than an HMO plan. Similar to an HMO, PPO has a preferred network of dentists, though it’s often bigger than an HMO network. You also won’t have to pay the full cost when you opt for an out-of-network provider, but you can expect the total to be higher if you go out of network.
Dental Discount Plans
Dental discount plans aren’t exactly insurance, but by paying a low monthly fee, you’ll receive discounts on dental care. You’ll be given a dental discount card, which you can present to your dentist during visits. These plans ensure lower prices on a variety of services.
Dental Indemnity Plans
You can use any dentist you want with a dental indemnity plan, which means there’s no network. Of course, this comes with higher premiums than you would have with HMOs or PPOs. It also has higher co-pays, which is the amount left over that you have to pay.
Average Cost of Supplemental Dental Insurance
Supplemental dental insurance plans are usually about $20 to $50 a month for individuals. Dental insurance plans for families range from $50 to $150 per month. Americans pay around $360 each year for dental insurance on average.
What to Look for in a Dental Insurance Provider
Dental insurance can be frustrating due to annual coverage limits, which might only amount to $1,000 to $1,500. Some procedures are only covered up to 50%. As you compare coverage options, be sure to look at the following criteria before you make a decision.
Group coverage programs like AARP and public programs like Medicaid are usually less expensive than purchasing individual insurance. They may also offer better benefits.
PPO and HMO plans limit you to the dentists within their network. If you already have a dentist you prefer, ask your dental provider which insurance plans it accepts. If you don’t mind finding a new dentist, a PPO or HMO is a safe option.
Take a closer look at what possible dental insurance plans cover and when coverage begins. Some dental policies cover services such as gum cleanings and denture repairs immediately, but you may have to wait for a year or more for specialized services like dental implants. Also, take note of how much of each service is covered, since some dental insurance plans only cover 50% of major procedures.
Best Supplemental Dental Insurance Providers
Once you know dental isn’t included in your health insurance plan, you might wonder if it’s even worth getting dental insurance on top of it. The right provider for your needs is always worth it, and we’ve done the research to share our top picks to help you narrow your search.
1. Best Overall: Delta Dental
Delta Dental is one of the most popular dental insurance providers for a reason. Delta Dental has more than 74 million enrollees and more dentists in its network than any other company, and it pays these dentists directly. This means you’re only responsible for your share of the payment, you don’t have to fill out any claim forms.
Delta Dental’s plans are aimed at individuals, families and businesses — both big and small. It also offers discounts for military personnel, veterans and federal employees. Its Medicare Advantage plans help you save even more on your dental care costs.
2. Best for Value: Guardian
Guardian is one of the most affordable dental plans on the market — you could save an average of 35%. Preventive care and cleanings are completely free. There are plans for individuals, employees and groups, including PPO and HMO options.
Guardian offers a large network so your current dentist is likely on the provider list. You can also pay your bills online to avoid claims forms.
Check out our list of other affordable dental plan coverages for more options.
3. Best for Dental Savings Plan: DentalPlans
DentalPlans offers a variety of plans to help you save up to 60% on your dentist visits.
Savings plans cover more than 100,000 dentists across the nation and start at $80 per year.
There’s no wait time for certain procedures, but it’s important to know that your out-of-pocket costs will still be higher than going with a PPO or HMO plan.
4. Best for Variety: MetLife Dental
MetLife’s plans suit a variety of patients and provide better access to routine care and emergency services.
MetLife Dental offers a PPO plan boasting the Preferred Dentist Program, which allows you to save money on all services received from an in-network provider.
You can also get plans through its MetLife TakeAlong Dental plans for large or small businesses.
5. Best for Kids: Cigna
Cigna’s dental insurance plans are perfect for families with children because coverage includes braces, which can cost anywhere from $6,000 to $10,000 without coverage.
Cigna has a smaller network than other providers, but it’s worth it to find a participating dentist if your child needs braces. Cigna also covers 100% of preventive care.
Supplemental Dental Plans to Help You Smile
You can get specialized or emergency dental procedures without breaking the bank. Whether your health insurance excludes dental or you know you’ll need braces or dentures soon, supplemental dental insurance can provide coverage to help buffer the cost.
To find the best supplemental dental insurance for you, start by comparing quotes. Just enter your ZIP code and some basic information, and we can show you the dental plans that make the most sense for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) 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.
2) 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.
3) 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.
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