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Dental Insurance for Kids

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Dental Insurance for Child - Things to Consider

Traditionally children are covered by dental insurance through family plans, where parents and dependents share the same coverage. There are circumstances, however, where a child requires a dental plan without either parent being on the same policy. For example, after a divorce a noncustodial parent may be required to provide dental coverage. Another common circumstance is a lack of dental benefits at the employers of the child’s parents. An additional scenario is where a child had previously received dental benefits through a state’s Medicaid program but the child is no longer eligible for the program.

Insurance coverage for a child (without an adult enrollee on the same plan) is often referred to as “kids dental insurance” or “child-only dental insurance.” In some cases, this insurance covers a single minor and, in other cases, it covers several siblings under the age of 18. Not every dental insurer will issue coverage for a child without an adult (over the age of 18) simultaneously on the dental plan.

Even though child-only coverage can require extra effort to find, it is extremely important. Children usually have all of their baby teeth by the age of three. Delaying dental care due to a lack of dental insurance can result in an assortment of oral care problems from cavities to tooth loss.

Your Dental Plan Options

Guardian Direct has several dental plans that can be purchased for a child. Other options include Humana and Delta Dental, both of which are well-known brands in the dental insurance market.

There are also stand-alone dental plans sold through an Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange (or off-exchange in some cases). For the 2023 plan year, the maximum out-of-pocket (MOOP) expenses an enrollee can pay on an ACA stand-alone child-only dental plan is $375 for one child, and $750 per family if multiple children are covered. In the upcoming 2024 plan year, the MOOP threshold increases to $400 for an individual child and $800 per family. Traditional dental plans lack the MOOP limits of ACA dental plans. Four states - New Jersey, Minnesota, Idaho, and Pennsylvania - require the stand-alone dental plans sold for their state on an ACA exchange to offer the option of covering a minor alone without an adult. These same dental plans can be purchased off-exchange.

To find dental insurance for kids on, use our toll free number (800) 296-3800 and a call center assistant will review which options are available in your area.

If there are not any locally available plans that will enroll a child without an adult, then consider a dental discount program. A discount program (otherwise known as a dental savings program or discount dental card) is not insurance but provides access to a dentist network at reduced rates. An example of a discount dental plan is the Careington 500 Series Dental Savings.

Benefits to Consider

When comparing dental plan options for minors, make certain that the plan includes preventive care coverage for annual cleanings and x-rays. Basic care coverage for silver or white fillings is also prudent as well as major care for unexpected major procedures (like root canals) that could cost in the hundreds without insurance coverage.

Another oral care concern for children is the need for braces. While orthodontic care is not a standard benefit in dental plans, a recent study found 28 percent of their plan’s nationwide included orthodontic care. Some dental plans offering child-only coverage include orthodontic services among their benefits.

How to Make Enrollment a Smooth Process

Many online dental insurance application forms assume the person performing the enrollment and paying for the plan will be insured under the policy. After you select a child-only dental plan, consider enrolling by telephone in order to avoid problems with an online application not designed for minor-only coverage. In the case of, telephonic enrollments can be made through our toll free number 800-296-3800. The call center supporting this 800 number is open Monday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. Pacific Time to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time.