Stand alone dental insurance

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Explore dental health options by choosing a dental insurance plan that fits your budget and may reduce costs.

Though dental health and oral health are important aspects of overall health, most health insurance policies typically do not cover dental benefits. But without dental coverage, the costs of cleanings, checkups, x-rays, cavity fillings, root canals, implants, and other dental procedures can really add up. If you have health insurance coverage but do not receive dental benefits through an employer or another group plan, stand alone dental insurance may be worth looking into for you.

Stand alone dental insurance is dental insurance that is purchased on its own instead of as part of a group plan. Also known as individual dental insurance, direct dental insurance, independent dental insurance, private dental insurance, or personal dental insurance, standalone dental insurance is available for purchase directly from an insurance provider online or over the phone. Stand alone dental insurance is a good dental health option to help you budget for the cost of regular dental care.

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Independent dental insurance

Maybe you’re self-employed and quickly realizing no one’s going to offer you benefits except yourself. Or maybe you only work part-time, so you’re not eligible to receive dental benefits from your employer. Or perhaps your employer does offer an optional group dental plan, but you’re dissatisfied with the level of coverage it provides for the cost.

Even if you can’t get adequate dental benefits from your employer, you still have dental health options. It’s possible to get affordable independent dental insurance online, no matter your employment situation. As a bonus, independent dental insurance offers the flexibility of choosing a plan that best suits your budget and your coverage needs.

Independent dental insurance is available for purchase online directly from dental insurance providers. You can request a quote and enroll in a plan any time of the year within minutes, with instant approvals and guaranteed acceptance. You’ll choose whether you’d like your insurance to cover just you or your entire family, request a quote, then pay your monthly premium to your insurance provider. An independent dental insurance policy is just between you and your insurance company – if you quit your job, switch employment, or transition to part-time work, your dental insurance policy won’t be affected.

Guardian Direct® offers three tiers of independent dental insurance plans, varying in price and coverage.

  • Guardian Direct® entry-tier plans offer basic dental coverage, making it ideal if you’re looking to save on routine dental care at an affordable price. It covers preventive care such as checkups and cleanings at 100% and covers basic care such as fillings up to 50%, subject to waiting periods and annual maximums. Guardian Direct entry-tier starts at $20* a month.

  • Guardian Direct® mid-tier plans offer many dental benefits in one plan for people who visit the dentist regularly and think they might need basic dental work. It covers preventive care such as checkups up to 80%, basic care such as fillings up to 50%, and major care such as implants at 50%, subject to waiting periods and annual maximums.

  • Guardian Direct® top-tier plans are a compressive coverage dental plan, making it a great dental health option for people looking for the highest level of coverage. It covers preventive care such as cleanings at 100%, basic care such as fillings up to 70%, and major care such as implants up to 50%, subject to waiting periods and annual maximums. It also covers orthodontia up to 50% subject to a waiting period and annual maximums for plan members under the age of 19.

The cost of independent dental insurance varies depending on the tier of plan you select, how many individuals are covered by your plan, and your location among other factors. Request a free dental insurance quote to get the most accurate cost estimate.

Private dental insurance plans

Private dental insurance plans and independent dental insurance plans are essentially the same. Both involve getting dental insurance directly from a private insurance provider instead of enrolling in an employer-sponsored group plan.

There are two common dental insurance plans available: dental preferred provider organization (PPO) plans and dental health maintenance organization (DHMO) plans. Both can be purchased independently of an employer, but aside from that, they have a few key differences.

Dental PPO Plans

Private dental PPO plans can be purchased directly from an insurance provider online as well as on the dental exchange. A dental PPO plan allows you to visit any licensed dentist and still receive full or partial coverage from the services, though you’ll typically save more money by visiting an in-network dentist rather than an out-of-network dentist. Dental PPO plans typically have deductibles and annual maximums, but no co-pays. Guardian Direct allows individual family members covered by the same plan to choose to visit different in network dentists.

Dental DHMO Plans

DHMO plans are typically purchased on the dental exchange, though they can also be purchased directly from an insurance provider in some cases. These plans may be subsidized by the government. Under a DHMO plan, contracted dentists are pre-paid an amount by the insurer for each patient assigned to the dentist. Dentists are then contractually obligated to provide covered procedures at the co-pay amount as listed on the Schedule of Benefits. Patients typically must receive treatment at their assigned or elected dentist’s office to receive benefits.

Dental health plans

Dental insurance doesn’t just help you budget for dental costs. A quality dental insurance plan can also contribute to your overall oral health. According to a 2019 survey by the NADP, Americans with dental benefits are more likely to go to the dentist, take their children to the dentist, receive restorative care, and experience greater overall health¹. It even found that individuals without dental insurance benefits were significantly more likely to have heart disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes².

The American Dental Association advises patients to visit the dentist regularly to treat and prevent oral disease³. With clear evidence to show that dental insurance benefits help improve access to dental care and dental care improves oral health, dental coverage can be a good idea for anyone⁴. Choosing a dental insurance plan that is right for you, may be critical of your overall healthcare. Not only can it help you save money, but it can also help you avoid potential health problems down the road.

Dental insurance plans help cover treatments to help you care for your oral health. Most dental insurance companies group procedures into three common categories: preventive, basic, and major.

  • Preventive services may include cleanings, checkups, x-rays, and oral exams. These services are typically covered at the highest percentage by dental plans. Guardian Direct stand alone dental insurance plans cover preventive services up to 80-100%, with no waiting periods.

  • Basic services may include fillings and simple extractions. Guardian Direct dental plans cover basic services up to 50-70%, subject to annual maximums and a waiting periods.

  • Major services may include crowns, implants, wisdom teeth removal, extractions, oral surgery, and dentures. Guardian Direct Core and Achiever plans cover major services up to 50%, subject to annual maximums and a waiting periods.

Note that there is no standard classification for what companies consider preventative, basic, or major. Be sure to read through your policy carefully so you understand the percentage at which your company will cover a given procedure.

Coverage is also subject to annual maximums, waiting periods, state variance among other factors. Many plans have caps on what they will pay during a plan year. This amount may increase the longer you have the plan.

Health & dental insurance plans for individuals

Both health and dental insurance can help you care for your overall health. However, there are a few key differences between health insurance and individual dental insurance.

Marketplace health insurance plans cover 10 essential health benefits, including emergency services, prescription drugs, laboratory services, and hospitalization, among others⁵. Some marketplace health plans may offer additional benefits including dental coverage, but most traditional health insurance plans do not cover dental services except in extreme emergencies. Dental insurance only covers dental services performed by a dentist or dental specialist. Exact coverage varies from provider to provider, but it is limited to dental and oral healthcare.

The dental insurance enrollment process also varies quite a bit from health insurance. To obtain health insurance in the exchange marketplace, you must sign up during the open enrollment period or a special enrollment period⁶. Dental insurance can be purchased online at any time throughout the year, with guaranteed acceptance and instant approvals.

The law also varies when it comes to health insurance and dental insurance. For example, health insurance plans may be required by law in your state, like they are in California⁷. If so, you may have to pay a penalty if you do not have health insurance. Many employers are also required by law to offer health insurance to their employees or pay a penalty⁸. On the other hand, dental insurance is optional. Employers are not required by law to offer it, and individuals are not required by law to have it.

Self-insured dental plans & Insights

No need to let your full-time employer dictate the dental benefits you can and can’t have. A standalone dental plan can help you cover the costs of both routine dental treatment and more serious services at an affordable price. We’ve compiled a few resources to help you learn about affordable self-insured dental plans.

*Costs vary by state and available plan type selected. Not available in all states.

This is not dental care advice and should not be substituted for regular consultation with your dentist. If you have any concerns about your dental health, please contact your dentist's office.


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