Dental Insurance and Plans Info

Dental insurance has been on the rise over the course of the last decade as people become more aware of the importance of maintaining excellent oral health, although dental insurance is still predominantly viewed as secondary to health insurance by most Americans. Similar to health insurance, dental insurance is preventative in its design. Having dental insurance coverage allows for the continual maintenance of your oral health. Investing in preventative dental care has the potential of saving you a great deal of time, pain and money in the long run if it helps to thwart serious dental procedures / issues.

There are 4 major dental insurance plans from which to choose from, including:

  • Dental HMOs
  • Indemnity Plans
  • Preferred Provider Organizations
  • Discount Dental Plans

The types of dental care that these insurance plans provide coverage for include:

  • Routine Care (Check-ups)
  • Dentures / Dental Implants
  • Gum Disease / Gingivitis
  • Tooth Removal (Including Wisdom Teeth Extraction)
  • Root Canals
  • Crowns
  • X-Rays
  • Cavities

If you select a Discount Dental Plan and simply require 2 routine check-ups in a year, then you could end up paying as little as $90 – $100 for your dental coverage. If you are on the opposite side of the spectrum, however, and you have a large family or have oral health issues like root canals or crowns, you will find that your yearly costs are much higher.

Dental HMO insurance is the most affordable form of dental insurance. Also known as ‘capitation plans,’ Dental HMO plans function in very much the same way as their health insurance counterparts. Policyholders pay a relatively low premium in order to be covered for a variety of basic oral health services. In accordance with the insurance contract, Dental HMO policyholders are made to keep within a small network of licensed dentists and facilities. (Network size depends on provider) If you visit a dentist or specialist outside of the network, your insurance provider will not assist you with any part of the costs. Monthly costs for basic dental HMO insurance average approximately $10 – $15.

Dental PPO plans, unlike Dental HMO plans, don’t require you to keep within a network of any kind, although, by staying within a network, PPO providers will award you by offering substantial monthly savings. Due to the makeup of a PPO plan, it can be said to be more or less a combination of an HMO and an Indemnity plan in that it has a highly flexible network. Average monthly costs are in the range of $15 – $20 per month.

Indemnity dental plans allow policyholders to visit the licensed dentist of their choosing without being tied down by any sort of network. Indemnity dental plans are the most expensive option and most customizable. This type of dental insurance plan provides the most flexibility of the four, and is therefore the most expensive. Average monthly costs are approximately $25. Discount dental plans are the newest option for people looking for an affordable solution to their dental insurance needs, and they are more often than not the cheapest available plans.

Discount dental plans are not really considered to fall into the category of insurance because they are not regulated in any way by insurance institutions / providers. These discount plans provide coverage for as much as 70% of the costs associated with your basic dental services, such as routine cleanings and checkups. Because discount dental plans aren’t exactly a form of insurance, they do not cover any procedure in full. (Discount dental plans are therefore more of a risk than an expensive dental insurance policy, because if you require some sort of expensive dental procedure, you could end up realizing high out-of-pocket costs) The monthly cost of a discount dental plan could be as little as $6 per month. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for.