Your tooth started throbbing in the middle of the night. You don’t have dental insurance, so you try treating it at home to save money. But the cost you pay in the long run could be far more painful than that toothache. You need regular dental care with an affordable dental insurance plan.
To help you get moving in the right direction with your oral health, we’ve researched the 5 best companies for dental insurance in Washington. Here’s what you need to know:
Quick Look: Washington Dental Insurance
The Best Washington Dental Insurance
Washington produces more apples than any other state in the nation. Sure, an apple a day may keep the doctor away, but you still need to go to the dentist for regular checkups.
We’ve done some research on some of the best dental insurance providers available in Washington that can keep you shining those pearly whites.
1. Smart Health Dental: Best Overall
Smart Health Dental (SHD) offers multiple dental insurance and non-insurance plan options. It has an extensive national network of over 200,000 licensed dental providers.No waiting periods
There are no waiting periods, and you’ll find dental insurance plans with up to 100% coverage on preventive procedures.
Call for a free quote Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.
2. Careington: Cheapest Dental Coverage
Not all dental insurance providers in Washington are the same. 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.
Its 500 Savings Plan is the most popular. This plan offers an average of 20% to 60% off of standard fees for most dental procedures, including routine exams, teeth cleaning for both adults and children and root canals. The 500 Dental Savings Plan also offers 20% off of orthodontics such as braces. And you’ll also receive unlimited access to eDocAmerica, a free email service to ask dentists questions.
3. Aflac: Best for Families
When thinking about dental insurance plans in Washington, Aflac probably isn’t the 1st company that comes to mind. While it’s not the cheapest plan you can get, it can be the best value for families. One reason is that it doesn’t matter if you have 1 child or 9 children, the plan costs the same amount for additional family members.
The Aflac Dental Standard plan is about $39 per month for individuals or $116 per month for a family plan. It offers a $1,400 annual maximum, no deductibles and transparent payout amounts. You also can go to any dentist in the nation, but there is a waiting period for some services.
4. Alpha Dental Plan: Best for Value
When you need dental insurance and believe you only need cleanings and preventive maintenance services, the Alpha Bronze Indemnity Dental Plan may give you the best value in Washington. The plan starts at $21 per month for an individual, but for this low premium, you’ll pay a bit more out of pocket for services.
You can see any dentist you like, and you can select maximum annual benefits from $1,000 to $3,000.
Types of Dental Coverage
When you compare dental insurance in Washington State, you’ll start to understand the differences in those plans to choose the right 1 for you and your family. Typically, you can choose from 2 types of insurance plans as well as consider a dental discount plan.
Here’s the difference between these types of plans:
- Dental health maintenance organization (DHMO). DHMOs work like a health insurance HMO. You’ll receive a list of in-network dental service providers who accept your insurance when you sign up with a DHMO. You’ll need to see a dental service provider within your network to use your dental benefits. DHMOs tend to be more affordable than other plans, but they don’t offer the flexibility you may prefer because you’re limited in the dentists you want to see. Check whether your dentist of many years is a member in your plan. To save money, you’ll have to select a dentist in the DHMO.
- Preferred provider organization (PPO). With a PPO, you can see any dentist you like and it doesn’t matter if they are in your plan’s network or not. Visiting an in-network provider gets you more discounts on services, though. When choosing a PPO, you should be aware that they tend to cost more than a DHMO. However, those extra costs will buy you more liberty to choose your dentist so you don’t have to leave the one you love.
- Dental discount plan. While you’re shopping for a dental insurance plan, you might see offers for a dental discount plan. These may confuse you into believing they are a form of dental insurance, but they are not. They do not cover any cost of dental services you get. But they may save you money because they offer discounts ranging from 10% to 60% on treatments and services you receive. If you do the math, you may figure out how to save even more than getting a dental insurance plan.
What Does Dental Insurance Cover?
Dental insurance in Washington covers most preventive and basic dental procedures. The plan you choose also may offer coverage for major procedures and treatments.
The treatments your dental insurance plan most likely includes are regular checkups and 2 teeth cleanings each year, standard X-rays, fillings, and sometimes root canals, crowns and bridges.
Dental plans by various companies can widely differ, however. While many dental plans in Washington cover different procedures, no plan pays for everything, no matter how high its quality.
Some plans in Washington cover large percentages of treatments and services such as extractions, root canals, crowns and bridges. Other plans may offer little or no coverage for the same services, or you may pay higher deductibles, co-insurance and have waiting periods to get some services.
It’s important to take the time to read what your plan actually covers and understand your annual maximums and waiting periods. Do front-end legwork so that you’re not shelling out what could feel like a small fortune.
What Does Dental Insurance Not Cover?
No matter which type of plan you choose, there are some services that your insurance plan likely won’t cover.
Most dental insurance plans in Washington State don’t provide coverage for extensive preexisting dental conditions — your oral health condition when you signed up for your plan. Say you’re missing a tooth and you want a dental plan so you can get it fixed with an implant or a bridge. If your policy has a missing tooth clause, it will not pay to fix your gap. So you’ll pay out of pocket.
After enrollment, you may have to wait for 3, 6 or even 12 months to get some services and treatments. This is called a waiting period, but if you had dental insurance when you enrolled in a new dental plan, some companies will waive the waiting period.
These time frames are put in place to prevent patients from enrolling in a new plan, using the maximum benefits right away for expensive treatments like extractions or surgeries, cancelling it and moving on to another plan.
Most plans don’t cover all the cost of emergency care or surgeries. If you’re looking for cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening or veneers, your dental insurance plan probably won’t cover that either.
Dental insurance companies are similar but they are not exactly alike. Before making a decision on a policy, learn all the details about what the plans do and do not provide. It’s a good idea to consult with your provider or dentist to learn about your plan’s coverage and benefits before enrolling. It’s a long commitment and investment.
Average Cost of Dental Insurance in Washington
The average cost of independent dental insurance in Washington is comparable to most states. Individual plans cost about $30–$45 per month for coverage. If you’re looking for a plan, expect to pay about $40 to $75 per month.
What to Look for in a Dental Provider in Washington
Here are some qualities and features to look for when choosing a dental plan to help brighten your smile:
Low or no deductibles. You don’t want a plan that has a high deductible because it’s like having no insurance coverage at all. A deductible is the amount you have to spend on your dental services and treatments before the insurance plan actually kicks in to pay benefits. Find a plan with a low deductible such as $50 or lower — even a $0 deductible.
Adequate coverage. Some plans’ lists of exclusions are so long, it has you wondering why bother with them. Winning insurance plans offer a long schedule of benefits, not just 2 or 3. Choose a plan that covers the services and treatments you know you need.
High maximums. Most dental insurance plans include yearly maximums on the dollar amount of cash benefits you can claim. Many annual maximums range from $1,000 to $1,500 per year, but some are as high as $3,000 per year and some have no annual maximum limit. Others can be as low as $750 per year.
If your maximum is that low, you could visit the dentist once to get a filling, and that procedure could cause you to hit your maximum quickly. That means you could be paying out of pocket for every other treatment or visit for the rest of your dental plan year. Look for a plan with a high yearly maximum to get the most out of your insurance.
Protect Your Health and Your Smile
You’ll find you have many options for dental providers in Washington who can help protect your smile and your overall health. Don’t be in such a rush that you don’t take the time to shop around for a plan that best fits your needs. It’s so important to understand your policy benefits before you sign.
Life can come at you fast. You don’t need to find out after the fact that you don’t have the coverage you thought and end up facing a large out-of-pocket payment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the different types of dental insurance plans in Washington?
Dental insurance in Washington includes several options like PPOs, DMHOs, and discount plans.
What are the annuals costs for dental insurance in Washington?
The yearly premiums for Washington dental insurance range from $300 to $700.
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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