Dental insurance is an important part of keeping your teeth healthy and preventing costly dental bills. However, many Americans are surprised to learn that their health insurance policy doesn’t include coverage for dental insurance. If your health insurance doesn’t include benefits for dental procedures, you have the option to purchase a separate policy from a third-party insurance provider.
If you’ve had dental insurance in the past, you might be wondering why your old policy provider is no longer available where you live. Benzinga’s guide to dental insurance companies by state will help you choose a policy that’s both available and affordable for you.
Why Is My Preferred Dental Insurer Not Active in My State
If your preferred dental insurer isn’t available in your state, there are a few reasons why that might be the case.
1. Not Approved
Many consumers find that their chosen dental insurer isn’t available in their state simply because the company hasn’t been approved by the state’s insurance department. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that the insurer provides subpar policies, it does mean you’ll have to look elsewhere for coverage unless you plan to move to a state where the company does offer coverage.
Another reason your chosen dental insurer may not be available in your state is that the company isn’t licensed to operate there. This is usually because the insurer doesn’t meet the state’s requirements for dental insurance companies. Each state gets to determine what types of services and benefits dental insurance companies that operate in the state must provide to its beneficiaries. If your preferred insurance company doesn’t meet these requirements, it cannot operate.
2. Not Offered
Some dental insurers only offer their plans in certain states. So if your chosen insurer isn’t available in your state, it may be because the company chooses not to offer dental insurance in your area. A dental insurance company might choose not to provide policies in a given state because of lack of interest, a less robust dental infrastructure and state insurance requirements.
3. Left Your State
In some cases, dental insurers may pull out of a state over concerns about the insurance market. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as if the state’s insurance regulations are too burdensome or if the state’s insurance market is unstable.
4. No Longer Offering Insurance
It’s also possible that your chosen insurer has stopped offering dental insurance altogether. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as if the company is having financial difficulties or it’s decided to focus on other types of insurance.
Tips to Save Money on Dental Insurance
It’s no secret that dental insurance can be expensive. However, there are ways to keep your coverage costs down while maintaining the protections you need. Use these tips:
- Choose a plan with a lower premium: The easiest way to save money on dental insurance is to choose a policy with a lower premium and a higher plan deductible. Your plan’s deductible is the amount of money you must pay toward your dental-care costs before your insurance begins footing the bill. For example, if you have a policy with a $50 deductible, you’ll need to contribute $50 toward your dental-care costs before your insurance starts paying out for the remainder of the bill.
When you choose a policy with a higher deductible, you save money each month through lower premiums. However, you’ll also pay more when you need to use your benefits so be sure that you’re also selecting a policy you know you can afford.
- Review your coverage annually: Your needs may have changed since you first bought dental insurance. It’s smart to review your dental insurance benefits each year to make sure your plan still makes sense for you. For example, if your children have moved out of your home, you might be able to get away with an individual plan instead of a family plan, saving hundreds a year on your dental insurance coverage.
- Sign up for a dental discount program: A dental discount plan is an affordable alternative to dental insurance that can save you money on your dental care. These plans aren’t insurance, but they do provide discounts of 10% to 60% off the retail price of most dental services from participating providers.
If you’re healthy and have no current need for extensive dental work, a discount plan might be a good option for you. You can typically sign up for a discount plan at any time, and there are no waiting periods or annual maximums.
- Take advantage of preventive-care benefits: Dental insurance companies typically offer 100% coverage for preventive care, which is great news for patients who are committed to maintaining their oral health. Regular cleanings and checkups help keep your smile healthy and bright and allow your dentist to spot potential problems early on when they’re easier to treat.
With a carefully researched approach, you can find considerable savings on your dental insurance. Be sure to compare plans and ask plenty of questions so you can find the best coverage for your needs.
Common Services Covered by Dental Insurance
The type of services covered by dental insurance carriers can vary greatly from one plan to another. To get the most out of your dental insurance coverage, it’s important to understand which services are typically covered and which may require you to cover additional costs. Commonly covered services include:
- Preventive services: Preventive dental services are those that help maintain your oral health and prevent future dental problems. Most dental insurance plans include preventive services like teeth cleanings, X-rays and sometimes screenings for oral cancer. These services are typically covered at 100% when performed by an in-network dentist.
- Basic restorative services: Basic restorative dental services are those that are necessary to treat common problems and restore your mouth to its normal function and appearance. Many dental insurance plans will take care of basic restorative services. Fillings, crowns and extractions are all examples of common restorative services covered by dental insurance. These services are typically covered at 80% when performed by an in-network dentist, but your specific dental insurance provider might cover a different percentage.
- Major restorative services: Major restorative dental services are those that are necessary to treat more serious dental problems and restore your mouth to its normal function. Some plans will even cover major restorative services, including dentures, bridges and implants. These services are typically covered at 50%, with you responsible for paying the remaining percentage of your care costs.
Dental insurance plans usually have yearly maximums, which is the maximum amount the plan will pay out in benefits over the course of a year. Once you reach this maximum, you will be responsible for paying 100% of the costs of any additional dental services.
Are Dental Discount Plans a Good Alternative?
Dental insurance plans aren’t the only option for getting affordable dental care. Dental discount plans might be a good alternative for people who don’t have dental insurance or who are looking for an affordable option to get dental care. Dental discount plans aren’t insurance plans, but they can provide discounts on various dental services from participating dentists.
Dental discount plans typically have a network of dentists to choose from, and you will receive a discount on the services you receive from those dentists. There may be a limit on how much you can save with a dental discount plan, but the discounts can still help you save money on your dental care.
If you’re considering a dental discount plan, compare the plans available to find one that offers the best discounts on essential dental services you need. You should also check to see whether the plan has a network of dentists in your area.
Compare Dental Insurance Plans
If your preferred dental insurer isn’t available in your state, don’t despair. There are plenty of other companies that offer dental insurance in your area. Use a few of the links below to find the biggest dental insurance companies by state and compare their plans to find the right one for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does dental insurance really work?
When you sign onto a dental insurance policy, you’ll first read through your policy benefits and the price you’ll pay per month (your premium) to maintain your coverage. If the policy seems like a good deal, you’ll sign a contract and pay your first month’s premium. While most plans offer preventative dental care benefits with no waiting period, you’ll usually need to wait 30 days before you can begin using your additional benefits.
How much is a filling without insurance?
The cost of a filling without insurance is between $50 and $250. If you only need a single metal filling, you will usually pay between $50 and $150, depending on the location and size of the cavity. If you prefer a tooth-colored filling, you’ll usually pay between $90 to $250 per filling.
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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