Dental Insurance Waiting Periods
When you sign up for a dental insurance plan, you may notice some waiting periods are required. This is common and it simply means that some dental procedures may not be covered right away.
Dental insurance waiting periods actually keep dental insurance costs low, so the more you know about waiting periods, the better you can understand when to use your dental insurance coverage for different procedures.
What is a dental insurance waiting period?
A dental insurance waiting period is a set period of time before you can receive full coverage for some specific dental procedures. Waiting periods vary based on your plan and can range from a few months to over a year. Waiting periods are primarily for basic and major dental work, and nearly all dental plans cover preventive dental care right away.
Can you visit a dentist during the waiting period?
Knowing which procedures require a waiting period before you schedule a visit can help you prepare and avoid unexpected costs. Here are some of the most common categories for dental insurance waiting periods.
Preventive. Most dental insurance plans do not require a waiting period for preventive care. That means you and your family may receive exams, cleanings, x-rays and fluoride treatments as provided in your plan.
Basic. Some basic procedures may have a three- to six-month waiting period. Basic procedures typically include fillings or non-surgical extractions.
Major dental work. Major work may have a three-month to one-year waiting period. Major work generally include crowns, bridges and dentures.
How do dental insurance waiting periods benefit you?
Dental insurance waiting periods help keep dental insurance costs under control. They prevent patients from receiving costly dental procedures and then dropping the coverage shortly after, which can result in higher premiums for everyone. Basically, waiting periods help keep dental insurance affordable for all customers.
Can you waive your waiting period?
There are some instances where you might be able to waive a waiting period for a dental plan.
- If you had an employer-based policy with an insurer, but no longer work for that employer, that same insurer might waive a waiting period if you sign up for one of their stand-alone dental plans.
- If you had a dental insurance plan and there is no break in coverage, you may receive a waiting period waiver to continue coverage with your new insurer.
How to choose a dental insurance plan for you and your family
You can rely on the preventive dental care coverage that is usually available right away with most plans to promote dental health for your whole family.
Select dental insurance for kids that starts them young with healthy dental hygiene guidance from your dentist as soon as you choose your plan.
When selecting family dental insurance, you may find some plans offer extra cleaning benefits without a waiting period for family members who are pregnant or who have diabetes.
Two more tips for choosing a dental insurance plan
dental insurance costs
to understand if the plan fits your budget. Look at all costs including:
- Premium – what you pay monthly for your plan
- Deductible – what you may need to pay before the plan pays
- Copay – what you pay with every visit to a dentist
- Coinsurance – the percentage of costs you pay after you meet your deductible
- Annual maximum – the most your plan will pay for coverage in a plan year
- Know your network. You can save with in-network dental providers.
- Preferred Provider Organization (PPO): PPO dental insurance provides a list of preferred dentists within the plan network. You will pay more for out-of-network dentist visits.
- Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO): DHMOs provide a network of dentists that have agreed to set dental insurance rates, including copays. The best part is that you do not have an annual benefit maximum or a deductible. Some procedures have zero out-of-pocket costs.
- Indemnity or Fee-for-Service Dental Plans: Fee-for-service dental plans offer the freedom to go to any dental provider you choose as there is not a network. You pay a percentage for a specified dental service — the plan pays the rest. The percentage you pay depends on the procedure.
The more you know about dental insurance coverage, the more confidence you have when selecting the best plan. Anthem offers a variety of affordable dental insurance plans that can fit you and your family with no waiting periods for preventive and diagnostic care. Let us help you compare plans today.