How dental insurance can help protect self-employed individuals from unexpected costs
Self-employed or independent contractor is becoming an increasingly frequent job title in today’s economy¹. However, like any type of job, there are typically trade-offs. Many independent contractors receive few benefits from those that employ them or none at all. They have to factor the cost of those benefits, such as the cost of insurance, into their regular income.
Many independent workers are uninsured because they may not know where to start or have trouble justifying the cost of insurance. But making dental insurance a priority can help independent workers save money and prevent larger health problems later.
Why self-employed individuals need dental insurance
People purchase dental insurance to receive dental care not traditionally covered under their general health insurance. For example, a doctor may be able to examine a chipped tooth, but cannot do the necessary repairs to restore the tooth.
Story: Ellie the accountant*
Consider the case of Ellie, an independent contractor who works as an accountant for several companies in her city. She has purchased healthcare coverage for her general needs and takes advantage of annual physical exams with an in-network doctor.
However, when Ellie chipped a tooth during a dinner out with family, her doctor was unable to help her and referred her to a dentist. Dental insurance could have saved Ellie from paying out of pocket for a dentist repairing her chipped tooth. The money she had saved up for a new computer that could have helped her career instead had to go towards paying for the chipped tooth.
Now that Ellie has enrolled in dental insurance coverage, she can stress less in case the unexpected—like a chipped tooth—happens again.
If you are self-employed, work as a freelancer, or participate in the gig economy, insurance may not be something you prioritize. However, dental insurance can help with regular as well as unexpected dental expenses so you can use the money you earn for other things, like reinvesting in your business. The stability of paying for insurance and related costs can help you avoid surprises no matter what your income looks like at any given time.
What Guardian Direct® dental insurance covers
Many Americans receive dental benefits through their full-time employer. However, you don’t have to enroll in dental insurance through a group plan to receive dental coverage. If you’re self-employed, you can still purchase individual dental insurance directly from an insurance carrier, like Guardian Direct.
Guardian Direct dental insurance is a good fit for self-employed individuals due to its affordability and its wide network of dentists. With premiums starting at $20 per month depending on your plan and state, it’s possible to work dental coverage into your budget at a low cost. And with over 100,000 in-network dentists to choose from, chances are good that you’ll be able to find a dental office that provides services covered by your plan near your home or office.
Depending on the plan you choose, your Guardian Direct dental insurance plan may cover a portion of the cost of preventive services such as cleanings and x-rays, basic services such as fillings, and major services such as root canals. Exact coverage is subject to waiting periods and annual maximums.
Guardian Direct dental insurance plans for self-employed individuals
Being self-employed doesn’t necessarily mean you have the same needs as anyone else who’s self-employed. You may have different budgetary constraints, health needs, and family situations. That’s why Guardian Direct offers multiple dental insurance plans that offer varying levels of coverage.
Guardian Direct Dental PPO plans cover a percentage of dentist’s charges by category of service.
Top-tier plans offer all of Guardian’s dental benefits in one plan for the most coverage. It’s ideal if you visit the dentist frequently and you’re thinking about more complex dental work.
Mid-tier plans offer a medium level of coverage, making them ideal for self-employed individuals who visit the dentist frequently and are considering basic dental procedures soon.
Entry-tier plans offer the most affordable coverage, making it ideal for self-employed individuals who want to save on the cost of preventative care for a low premium cost. Note that Achiever plans are not available in all states. Get a dental insurance quote here to see the most affordable options available in your state.
Whatever plan you choose, you can enroll in a policy in minutes any time of the year, with guaranteed acceptance and instant approval. Learn more about Guardian Direct dental insurance plans here.
Dental Insurance Definitions
There are many terms to learn when exploring the dental insurance marketplace, especially if you have to compare plans across insurance companies. We cover terms like premiums, deductibles, in-network, and out-of-network in detail below.
Premium – A premium is the amount of money paid for an insurance policy. A premium is typically a monthly cost associated with enjoying insurance coverage, but you may have the option to pay it monthly, quarterly, or annually.
Copay – A copay is a fixed cost associated with a healthcare service and is typically paid at the time of an appointment. For instance, if you have a copay for a dental visit, you pay the copay when you sign in for your appointment at the office. The remaining balance following your appointment is typically covered by the insurance provider.
Deductible – A deductible is a fixed amount paid by the insured person before the insurance company begins paying for services. Depending on your needs, a higher deductible may be more useful if you are the kind of person who doesn’t typically have a significant need for regular care.
However, if you find yourself needing to visit a doctor more often, a lower deductible plan may be right for you since the insurance company begins paying for coverage sooner with that kind of plan.
In-network – Insurance works best when partnering with an in-network provider, meaning a doctor or dentist that accepts that kind of insurance. When a provider is in-network, you no longer have to worry about submitting claim forms to the insurance company, as an in-network provider typically submits claim forms directly to the insurer on your behalf. Especially for independent workers, that can be a huge time saver.
Out-of-network – An out-of-network provider is a provider that is not part of the network of providers an insurance company partners with. Services with that provider may be more costly than with an in-network provider. Some services may be better suited to working with a provider that is out of your typical network. For instance, you may find an excellent provider with a specialty to help you with a condition, but they are not in-network. That doesn’t mean you are unable to see that provider, but the cost may be higher.
Self-employed dental expenses – Insights
Even if you're self-employed, dental plans can help you save on the cost of receiving dental care. It can help you save on the cost of preventative treatment as well as the cost of dental emergencies that may arise. Dental insurance helps provide financial confidence that can pay off for any self-employed individual.
We’ve compiled a few resources to help you learn more about how to help save on dental expenses, especially if you don’t receive dental coverage from an employer.
How much should you expect to pay for dental insurance in premiums and out-of-pocket? Learn how much dental insurance costs.
What sort of procedures are covered by dental insurance? Learn what dental insurance covers.
How can you get dental insurance if you’re self-employed? Learn more about individual dental insurance.
Looking for full coverage dental insurance? Learn more about comprehensive dental insurance options available to you.
Ready to purchase self-employed dental insurance but aren’t sure where to start? Find out where to buy dental insurance online.
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https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/19rpindcontractorinus.pdf (2019, last accessed April 2021)
Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice.(exp.05/22)