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How to buy individual dental insurance during COVID-19

While COVID-19 has affected many aspects of everyday life, you can still buy dental insurance online.

8 minute read

During COVID-19 you can continue to purchase individual dental insurance from a dental insurance company online, over the phone, or through a broker. Limited options may also be available on healthcare.gov or your state’s ACA marketplace.

Purchasing dental insurance online

  • Fast. Purchasing dental insurance online takes a matter of minutes to enroll.
  • You can do it yourself. No need to talk to anyone on the phone or meet anyone at a physical location. Purchasing dental insurance online is available 24/7.
  • Easy. No need for you to submit a claim for when using an in-network provider.

Keep in mind that different dental insurance companies tend to cover different states. For example, Guardian Direct is available in 44 states and the District of Columbia. Make sure the area you reside in is covered by any plan you’re looking into.

In order to purchase direct dental insurance online, here’s some of the information you may need to provide:

  • Your zip code
  • How much coverage you need
  • How much you’re willing to pay each month
  • Names, addresses, and birth dates of everyone who needs to be insured
  • Relevant payment information

Guardian Direct offers a variety of affordable dental insurance plans to fit your needs and your budget. With no hidden fees, all policies are instantly approved so you can get a policy today. Learn more about Guardian Direct dental insurance.

Purchasing dental insurance through a broker

  • Less searching. Insurance brokers represent consumers and act as policy finders, evaluating various policies from various providers to find one that suits your needs in order to save you time. (However, finding a reputable insurance broker and meeting with them can take up additional time.)
  • Not tied to one company. Insurance brokers aren’t employed by one insurance company, which means they’ll often recommend a wide range of insurance policies from different providers.
  • Can’t complete insurance sales. Insurance brokers can’t bind coverage for their clients – they have to hand the account over to an insurer or insurance agent to complete the sale.

When to buy dental insurance

If you find yourself in need of dental insurance coverage, you can purchase private dental insurance at any time, even during the pandemic. Now is a great time to assess your current level of coverage and determine the type of dental insurance you need. 

That being said, certain types of dental insurance can only be purchased at certain times of year. For example, you can only purchase dental insurance through a Medicare Advantage plan during the Medicare open enrollment period in the fall. 

Likewise, if you’re joining your employer’s group plan, you’ll usually sign up either right after you start a new job, after a qualifying life event, or during your company’s open enrollment period. 

What dental insurance covers

Dental insurance covers a portion of the cost of various dental services, from routine preventive care to emergency dental surgery and everything in between. Oral exams, x-rays, cleanings, fillings, extractions, root canals, implants, and crowns are all typically covered by dental insurance plans, though dental insurance coverage varies depending on your type of plan. Some plans even cover periodontics, orthodontics, and prosthodontics.

Most dental insurance companies group dental procedures into three main categories: preventive, basic, and major. Most plans cover preventive care at 80% to 100%, basic procedures between 50% to 70%, and major services at 50%. However, these coverage percentages and overall costs can vary from plan to plan. Many plans also have a cap on what they will pay during a plan year. When comparing dental insurance plans, it’s a good idea to compare coverage caps, what services each company classifies as preventive, basic, or major, and what coverages are for those classifications.

Dental insurance for families

Dental insurance can be a worthwhile investment for most people. But if you have children, dental insurance can help ensure they establish good oral hygiene habits early. Cavities are the most common chronic condition for both children and adolescents aged six to 19 years.1 Without dental insurance, cavities can be expensive to fill – and when left untreated, they can cause pain, sensitivity, discomfort, and in extreme cases, tooth loss. What’s more, nearly 50% of children experience some type of injury to a tooth during childhood2, which can be expensive to treat. 

Even if your children are still young, they probably need dental care sooner than you’d think. The American Dental Association recommends that all children should visit the dentist as soon as their first tooth appears and no later than their first birthday in order to prevent cavities and promote lifelong oral health.

Dental insurance for seniors

Many older Americans don’t have dental insurance since they lost their benefits upon retirement and Medicare doesn’t cover routine dental care. However, this doesn’t mean dental insurance isn’t worth it for seniors. In fact, people over 65 years of age actually experience an increased risk for oral health problems, including cavities, gum disease, tooth loss, and mouth, tongue, and throat cancer3 – all of which can be expensive to treat without dental insurance. 

Dental insurance for the self-employed, retired, or unemployed

If you’re self-employed, retired, or unemployed, chances are you don’t have dental insurance unless you’ve purchased it yourself. Especially if your employment situation has recently changed due to COVID-19, now is a good time to assess your current level of coverage and determine whether you need to purchase direct dental insurance

Employer-provided dental insurance

Depending on your circumstances, you may already have dental insurance provided by your employer. While employers aren’t legally required to offer dental coverage, nearly 60% of Americans receive dental insurance benefits from an employer or other group program.4 Of course, that doesn’t mean employer-provided dental insurance is always the best option. Even if your employer does provide dental insurance, it’s a good idea to review the plan and make sure you’re satisfied with your benefits. 

How COVID-19 could affect dental insurance

Though you can still safely and easily buy dental insurance at this time, COVID-19 may affect the way you use your dental insurance coverage. Even with usual dental insurance waiting periods, most private dental insurance plans cover preventive care such as cleanings and X-rays immediately. Dentist offices in over 40 states are now open for elective procedures.5 If you live in a state that is offering only emergency dental services, you may be able to receive some care through a teledentistry consultation.

If your employment situation has been affected due to COVID-19, now may be a good time to purchase private dental insurance to make sure you can continue to receive the dental care you need and avoid unexpected dental costs.

Dental insurance can help you maintain good overall health and during COVID-19, your personal health is more important than ever. 

 

Links to external sites are provided for your convenience in locating related information and services. Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents and employees expressly disclaim any responsibility for and do not maintain, control, recommend, or endorse third-party sites, organizations, products, or services and make no representation as to the completeness, suitability, or quality thereof.

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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Sources:

1. https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/disease/dental_caries.html, 2016
2. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/mouth-and-dental-injuries-in-children-beyond-the-basics, 2019
3. https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/basics/adult-oral-health/adult_older.htm, 2019
4. https://www.nadp.org/Dental_Benefits_Basics/Dental_BB_1.aspx, 2017
5. https://success.ada.org/en/practice-management/patients/covid-19-state-mandates-and-recommendations, 2020

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.
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