Supplemental Dental Insurance Plans - A Quick Guide

By Insurance Industry Expert & Author
Updated on

What Is Supplemental Dental Insurance?

Supplemental dental insurance may refer to 1) a dental plan to provide insurance coverage where an existing health plan fails to cover dentist services, or 2) an insurance plan that lowers the out-of-pocket costs of a separate dental plan and/or expands the dental services that are covered.

Employer Medical Plans Without Dental Benefits

Health insurance provided by an employer often lacks dental benefits. Dental coverage may be offered in a separate voluntary plan through the employer or independently through a broker like If an employer completely lacks dental coverage options, you can review the options available in your area on our dental quote page. The plans available in your region may include one or more of the following plan types:

  • A PPO dental plan - PPO plans have wide dentist networks and allow for the use of out-of-network dentists
  • Indemnity dental plans - Indemnity plans allow you to choose your own dentist and reimburse care at  "usual, customary and reasonable” rates
  • HMO dental plans - HMO plans have low premiums and lack caps on annual dental care spending but they limit you to in-network dentists
  • Dental Discount Programs - Discount dental plans give members access to dentists who provide care at a negotiated rate below retail prices

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Policies to Fill the Gaps

The second version of supplemental dental insurance discussed earlier concerned a policy that lowers the out-of-pocket costs associated with a dental plan. This “gap” style insurance resembles a dental version of Medigap insurance. Medigap insurance was developed to pay for various out-of-pocket costs not covered by Original Medicare.

Gap-style supplemental dental insurance is more of a niche product and often difficult to find among brokers of private dental insurance.

Supplemental Dental Insurance & Medicare Advantage

Supplemental Dental Insurance can have a very different meaning when discussed in the context of Medicare. Medicare is a government health insurance serving the elderly and also the disabled population. Original Medicare (Parts A and B) do not cover dental care. This can be extremely problematic for seniors since a variety of medications treating illness of this population can cause “dry mouth.” Dry mouth, in turn, can set the stage for cavities and poor oral health.

Medicare Advantage delivers the benefits of Original Medicare through a commercial health plan. Alongside the medical and hospitalization coverage of Original Medicare, a Medicare Advantage plan may include supplemental benefits that are not part of Original Medicare. These supplemental benefits often include dental coverage.

Seniors who stay within Original Medicare may choose to by a stand-alone dental  plan (sometimes called “dental insurance only”). Stand-alone dental plans may be a PPO, HMO, indemnity, or dental discount program. To find out the options available in your region, visit our rate quote page.

Need help choosing a plan? Call us at 800-296-3800

Our knowledgeable customer service team will assist you with any questions you may have prior to enrolling in a dental plan. They can guide you through the process of choosing coverage that matches your needs as well as your budget.

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