According to information published by Dentagraphics, Pennsylvania has 3,710 general dental practices and 3,556 specialty dental practices. The average income of a general dentist in the state during 2020 was $155,360 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The United States Census Bureau estimates the state to have nearly 13 million residents in 2021, which produces a ratio of 3,494 Pennsylvanians per general dental practice. Not surprisingly, the government's Health Resources & Services Administration in 2018 determined that there are 58 Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas within the state.
Despite these pockets where dentists are less plentiful, the state has a robust dental plan market as the following section demonstrates.
Below is an analysis of Pennsylvania dental plans performed in 2022 which will help you evaluate your dental plan options. To obtain a quote of dental plan premiums for your specific area and age (and relatives if seeking family coverage), visit our dental insurance quote page.
An analysis of 35 dental plans offered in the state of Pennsylvania for 2022 found dental coverage in a variety of forms:
Some dental plans also included vision benefits alongside dental care.
HMOs and Discount programs have the most restrictive dental networks. Normally care received outside of these networks is not covered. PPOs, in contrast, provide the freedom to use out-of-network dentists but this comes with higher out-of-pocket costs. Indemnity plans also do not restrict enrollees to a network but may require them to complete and submit claims forms for reimbursement.
The 35 plans analyzed for this article represented nine separate insurers:
Premiums and deductibles were compared given a standardized applicant profile. The least expensive offering within the study had a monthly premium of $8.95 a month. This plan was Careington 500 Series Dental Savings Discount Card. The most expensive was Nationwide's Classic 2000 + VSP Premium indemnity dental plan that included additional vision coverage. This plan had a monthly premium of 87.58. Monthly premiums for the Pennsylvanie plans examined averaged $42.05 a month.
Deductibles were inconsistent among plans. Some plans had either no deductible or a deductible that was waived for certain preventive services. For plans charging a deductible, the amount for a single individual was often $50 annually, though there was a deductible as low as $25. There was a single person deductible as high as $150 but this deductible was only charged once and you did not pay it again for as long as you remained enrolled within the dental plan.
Family deductibles were more expensive than individual deductibles, as would be expected. Some plans charged a $50 annual deductible for each family member enrolled. Other plans capped the maximum annual deductible for a family. In some cases, the family deductible was a flat charge (e.g. $150) while in others it was a maximum number of deductibles (e.g. $100 per person with a maximum of three deductibles per family). These capped family deductibles were as low as $75 and as high as $450 (the high deductible was only paid once for as long as the family stayed enrolled within the plan).
While the 33 plans reviewed covered preventive care, minor dental procedures, major dental procedures, and orthodontic care, there was no uniformity of benefits among the different plans. The lowest priced plans generally had higher cost-sharing and network restrictions or reduced benefits when compared to more expensive offerings but exceptions were certainly present.
Graded benefit year maximums
Plan type: PPO
Plan Maximum: $500 – $1000
Use one of our 115,000 network providers to get the most from this plan. No waiting periods.
Plan type: PPO
Plan Maximum: $2000
Immediate coverage with no waiting periods for most services. Generous plan maximum.
Plan type: PPO
Plan Maximum: $3000
The Pennsylvania Dental Association, otherwise known by the acronym PDA, is a professional association with about 6,000 members from the dental field. The mission of the organization is to "serve the public, improve their health, promote the art and science of dentistry and represent the interests of its members and the people they serve.” A press release from the organization educated the public on how to find and choose the right dentist.
The Pennsylvania Dental Association provides an online resource that directs consumers to information regarding:
This tool enables a Pennsylvanian to select his or her county and see a list of dental clinics that are free or use a sliding scale for costs based on ability to pay.
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