Despite its limited size, the nation’s capital, Washington D.C., supports a robust dental insurance market with a variety of plans from which residents can choose. For this study, 30 different dental coverage options in the city were compared using the same assumptions about an enrollee’s age, sex, zip code, etc, for each plan. The insurers offering these 30 plans included MetLife, Delta Dental, Nationwide, Humana, Ameritas, Guardian, Renaissance, Dominion National, and Careington. Below are the trends observed among D.C. dental insurance.
A month of dental coverage cost $45.11 on average among the 30 Washington D.C. plans examined. When a dental discount card was excluded, leaving only traditional insurance and indemnity products, the average monthly premium rose slightly to $46.36. However, this average conceals the broad range of prices available in D.C. The lowest cost option was the "500 Series Dental Savings" discount card program offered by Careington. This program (which has a set network of dentists from whom members can receive reduced prices for dental care) costs only $8.95 a month.
With regard to traditional insurance, the lowest cost plan in the study was the Select Plan Basic DHMO by Dominion National. This plan charged $14.40 a month and restricted care to in-network dentists. At $96.29, the Delta Dental Immediate Coverage Plan PPO was at the other end of the price range. This plan combined the flexibility to use out-of-network dentists with a $3,000 annual limit on the cost of dental services covered by the plan.
There were considerable variations of deductible costs among the 30 plans in this study. Several plans, such as Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO) plans and the discount card program, had no annual deductible. There was also a PPO plan with no deductible, but this was the exception for Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans. Some plans that had a deductible waived this cost for a class of dental services (e.g. preventive).
For plans that charged an annual deductible, it was common to see a deductible per enrollee on the plan (e.g. $50 per person enrolled). Some plans had a maximum deductible amount for families (e.g. $150 per year) regardless of the number of family members.
Benefits are not standardized for dental plans so there was not a uniform set of covered services. Benefits were normally categorized according to:
Smart consumers will examine a plan’s brochure or summary of benefits to establish not only what dental services are covered but at what out-of-pocket costs to the enrollee.
Founded one hundred and fifty-five years ago, the District of Columbia Dental Society DCDS has championed improvements in oral health literacy and dental outcomes in the D.C. area.
A list of multiple dental clinics in the D.C. metropolitan area providing dental services at costs reduced from normal rates or for free depending on patient qualifications.
This resource provides answers to questions such as: