How do I get Individual Dental Coverage?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2018
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Many people are able to receive dental insurance through work, where it may be low priced and provide some savings. Few types of dental insurance completely insure the person, and most people can expect to have to meet deductibles, and pay some share of the cost of most dental services. In particular, a lot of plans will expect people to pay at least 50% of many of the more expensive dental procedures like root canals and crowns, and most only offer limited coverage for orthodontistry and may have a lifetime cap on services. The reason it’s important to mention this is because in comparison, private individual dental coverage is not that different, though it can be slightly to a great deal more expensive.

Lots of insurance brokers exist that can offer people individual dental coverage at varying prices, online and offline. A number of brokers can be accessed online very quickly and yield lots of quotes. These quotes can get confusing and it's valuable to understand the ways coverage differs.

Some “insurance” is actually a discount plan, where prices are discounted, instead of being partly covered by the insurance company. This will mean virtually no service comes without a charge, and these plans should only be considered if no other options are available.


Another type of individual dental coverage is the dental HMO, which means people are restricted to using dentists belonging to the HMO, and this may or may not pose a problem. If there isn’t significant participation in the HMO by local dentists, it can be hard to find someone to provide care. People should plan to investigate who belongs to the dental HMO prior to signing up. When there are many participating dentists, these plans are usually least expensive and tend to provide the most benefit.

Alternately, other forms of individual dental coverage can include the PPO, which allows people to use dentists outside of a network group, but only begin to pay out after the insured pays deductibles, which can be very high. PPOs usually pay a lower percentage of total costs when people use dentists that don’t belong to the network. In contrast some coverage will pay a percentage of costs no matter when dentist people choose, which is usually called an indemnity plan. Direct reimbursement means that people pay all their costs and then submit claims to the insurance company for some reimbursement.

These different terms cover the varying types of individual dental coverage that can be offered, and it’s important to decide which one or ones seem like the best deal. The next step is looking at each policy to determine what truly gets covered and what doesn’t. Take note of exclusions, exclusions on pre-existing conditions, maximum benefits, either yearly or lifetime, and deductible. Some insurance plans charge a very high deductible before they give coverage of any kind, and these may not be worthwhile, while others make people wait several months prior to providing any services.

An additional point of evaluation is how the company charges. It may ask for the full yearly fee upfront, and or it might request a monthly payment. The full year’s fee does have the advantage of the insurance company being unable in most cases to cancel the insurance, for that year. On the other hand, using a monthly payment structure could be beneficial if the policy gets maxed out prior the year’s end, and the individual can stop paying for it.

In all, people should do their research, compare a lot of plans and look for the one that best fits their needs. There are pros and cons to the many kinds of plans available. The last thing people should probably do prior to purchasing individual dental coverage is to check with agencies like the state Insurance Commissioner or the Better Business Bureau. If there are many complaints about the way a particular company administrates its plan, it may be best to search for one that is more favorably reviewed.



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