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Your Guide to Health Insurance & Discounts

Dental Insurance Options

There are a few basic types of dental coverage—any of them can help you maintain excellent dental health.

Dental insurance's low cost makes it generally affordable for individuals and families—and because dental insurance encourages and generally pays for regular check-ups, many people who purchase protection start to benefit immediately.

Dental PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plans allow you to visit any licensed dentists; however, you usually pay lower costs when visiting a PPO network dentist.

These plans offer a balance between lower prices and dentist choice. PPO dentists who participate in the network agree to accept contracted fees as payment for patients with the PPO plan, rather than their usual fees. When you visit a PPO dentist, you typically pay a certain percentage of the reduced rate (coinsurance), and the plan pays the rest. The percentage usually varies by the type of coverage such as diagnostic and preventive, major services, etc.

Prepaid Dental Plans, also referred to as dental HMO plans, require you to choose one dentist or dental facility to coordinate your oral health needs. If you need to see a specialist, your primary care dentist must refer you.

A typical DHMO-type plan doesn't have any deductibles or maximums. Instead, when you receive a dental service, you pay a fixed dollar amount for the treatment; this is called a copayment. Often, diagnostic and preventive services have no copayment, so you pay nothing for those services. Generally, if you visit a dentist outside of the network, you may be responsible for the entire bill.

Discount dental plans, or reduced-fee-for-service plans, are not insurance but offer access to dental services at a discounted rate from participating dentists for a monthly or annual charge. There is generally no paperwork, annual limits, or deductibles, but you must visit a participating dentist to receive the discount. Additionally, you may be responsible for a more significant portion of the treatment cost than with a PPO or Prepaid plan.

Since most people have regular oral examinations, their dentist may be the first health care provider to diagnose a health problem early. Your dentist may become aware of some health problems, including diabetes, cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, anxiety, and other medical conditions.

Dental Coverage

AARP® Dental Insurance Plan, administered by Delta Dental Insurance Company offers individual or family coverage for the most common dental procedures.

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