Dental care is an important part of your overall health care, so getting dental coverage is vital. But, “How can I get dental insurance?” you say. Fortunately there are several ways you can get coverage for your dental care, helping ensure you get regular checkups and preventive care that will keep your mouth healthy.

No matter how you get dental insurance coverage, communicate with your dentist to get the most out of your benefits.

“Most dentists will gladly help you to obtain what kind of benefits and coverages are allowed under your dental plan at their dental office,” said Min Jin Kim, DDS and chief of pediatric dental services at the Jersey City Medical Center.

Here are three ways you can get dental coverage.

From Your Employer

You may be covered by a dental insurance plan sponsored by your employer or collective bargaining unit, or you might have access to coverage from an insurance plan your spouse gets. In either case these dental insurance plans are provided to employees at small, midsize and large employers, and are often offered as flexible or voluntary benefits, meaning you pay for all or part of the cost of coverage.

Coverage levels vary by dental insurance plan and what you end up paying for, but most dental insurance will cover preventive procedures such as annual exams, screenings, cleanings and X-rays, while asking you to pay for a percentage of more invasive procedures such as fillings, root canals and extractions. Many plans come with waiting periods for major services.

Coverage may also vary depending on whether it’s a Preferred Provider Organization (or PPO), DHMO, indemnity or dental discount plan. No matter what you get, it’s important to be familiar with your dental plan.

“As a dentist, I see a lot of patients who do not exactly know what they have in terms of their dental insurance benefits and coverages,” Kim said.

Through an Exchange

A health insurance marketplace will let you purchase a dental insurance plan that’s part of a health insurance plan or as a standalone plan. Keep in mind that no matter how you buy a dental insurance plan on an exchange, you also have to purchase a health insurance plan. If your dental insurance plan is part of your health insurance plan you’ll pay one premium; otherwise you’ll pay for them separately.

Dental insurance plans on marketplace exchanges have two levels. High-coverage dental insurance plans have higher premiums and lower deductibles, while low-coverage dental insurance plans have lower premiums but higher deductibles. Dental coverage is considered an essential health benefit for children but not for adults, and there are no penalties for not carrying a dental insurance plan.

Buying It Yourself

Buying individual dental insurance can be quick and easy, and there are plenty of options. It’s possible to find online signups that don’t require waiting periods, and you can get a dental insurance plan right away. Look for platforms that provide a high level of customer service and answer all your questions. Research is key when buying individual dental insurance, so that you can get the dental insurance plan that best fits your needs.

LEARN MORE*:

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Mayo Clinic Dental Health Resources

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