Things to consider
Health benefits can cover a variety of medical services such as:
- Outpatient doctor and specialist visits
- Lab tests
When an insurance policy is limited only to dentist services, the plan is referred to as a “dental only” plan. A dental-only plan can be owned alongside a medical plan or a stand-alone vision plan. Dental Only Insurance is part of the private dental insurance market. It is called “private” because the plans are purchased by private citizens, as opposed to companies or unions. Other names for this market are the “individual dental insurance” or “family dental insurance.”
Benefits are not standardized on a dental-only plan. The dental services potentially covered by dental only insurance are categorized according to preventive, basic, and major care. Below are examples of services belonging to each category.
Preventive Dental Services
- Annual teeth cleanings
- Annual teeth bitewing and full mouth x-rays
- Annual teeth exams
Basic Dental Services
- Restorative Amalgam Fillings (traditional “silver” fillings)
- Resin-based composite (white fillings)
- Simple tooth extraction
Major Dental Services
- Root canal
- Dental implant
- Deep cleanings
Braces and orthodontia is typically considered a separate category of dental care and most dental plans do not cover these services.
Key Issues to Consider When Enrolling in a Dental Insurance Only Plan
Before buying a dental plan, review the following issues to confirm the plan meets your needs and circumstances.
Dentist - Is your dentist in-network? If your dentist is out-of-network, does the plan cover dental care and, if “yes,” at what out-of-pocket costs? HMO plans and dental discount plans have smaller networks and limit coverage to in-network dentists. PPO and indemnity plans have larger networks and include coverage for out-of-network dental care.
Maximum Benefit - A maximum benefit is the cap limiting a dental plan’s annual spending on your dental care. Dental discount plans and HMO dental plans lack a maximum benefit.
Waiting Periods - A waiting period is a delay between enrollment in a dental plan and the time when the plan will cover particular service. Some dental plans have waiting periods for more expensive services. If you receive that care before the expiration of the waiting period, you will pay 100% of the cost.
Benefits - Benefits are not standardized within the dental insurance market. Some plans have full coverage while other might limit covered services to preventive care. Dental care outside a plan’s covered benefits is paid fully by the patient without the aid of insurance contributions.
Time to Shop
With the above information, you are now ready to shop for dental insurance only. See what plans are offered in your area using our free dental quote tool.