If you just graduated high school or college and aren’t receiving dental benefits through your employer, you may be able to stay on your parents’ dental insurance policy so you don’t experience a lapse in coverage. This will allow you to continue accessing the regular dental care you need to keep your teeth healthy and address any serious problems that might arise.
As a young adult, your dental health may not be the number one thing on your mind. But cavities and other major dental issues can be painful, uncomfortable, and distracting. And if you don’t have dental insurance, those annoying dental problems can turn into a financial burden.
How long can children stay on their parents’ insurance?
Unfortunately, you can’t stay on your parents’ dental insurance plan forever. Many dental plans allow children to remain on their parents’ insurance until 26. That means you’ll stop receiving dental benefits from your parents’ plan on your 26th birthday. Usually, you can still stay on your parents’ dental insurance plan if you’re young enough – whether you’re living at home, a student, married, or not.
However, this isn’t always the case. When the Affordable Care Act was passed, it required medical providers to allow dependent children to remain on their parents’ health insurance plan until age 26, but no such provision exists for dental insurance. This means the coverage age can vary depending on your provider.
Nineteen is another common cut-off age. Pediatric dental care is listed as an Essential Health Benefit under the Affordable Care Act, so some health plans include it. If you’ve been covered through pediatric dental benefits as part of a health plan, you may age out of the plan at age 19. In that case, you won’t be able to stay on your parents’ insurance as an adult. Be sure to check your dental insurance plan carefully to determine your eligibility.
What does it mean to stay on your parents’ insurance?
If your parents let you stay on their dental insurance plan as a dependent, you may receive dental coverage at a lower rate than if you were to enroll in a dental insurance plan on your own. You’ll also get to keep your current dentist and avoid waiting periods.
Whether you can stay on your parents’ dental insurance depends on your age and whether your parents are willing to keep you on their coverage. The same goes for other types of insurance, such as health insurance and car insurance. Though it’s usually relatively inexpensive, including a dependent on an insurance plan does come at an additional cost. If you're 19 or older, discuss your dental insurance options with your parents. If they’d prefer not to continue paying for your dental insurance once you’re an adult, consider offering to pay the additional cost of staying on their plan directly to them.
Should I stay on my parents’ dental insurance plan?
If it’s an option for you, staying on your parents’ dental insurance plan can be the least expensive and most convenient way of securing affordable dental coverage.
However, as an adult, you are eligible to purchase your own dental insurance plan. Take some time to review your parents’ current plan and make sure you’re satisfied with the coverage. You parents’ plan may have annual limits and high out-of-pocket costs. If that’s the case, you may want to consider finding an individual dental insurance plan that suits your needs and your budget.
Do young adults need dental insurance?
Dental insurance helps you keep your teeth and gums healthy while minimizing the cost of regular dental care. It also keeps you covered in the case of an expensive dental emergency.
Many young adults need better dental treatment. Though cavities are largely preventable, 90% of adults over the age of 20 have cavities or some degree of tooth decay1. What’s more, a recent study conducted by the American Dental Association found that 38% of young adults said their life in general was less satisfying due to the condition of their mouth and teeth2. Dental problems can even affect you professionally. Decaying teeth and gum problems made 28% of young adults say the appearance of their mouth and teeth undermines their ability to interview for a job3.
Visiting the dentist regularly is an important part of oral care. To reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease, the American Dental Association recommends that all patients do the following:
- Brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Clean between teeth daily
- Eat a healthy diet
- Visit the dentist twice a year
Dental insurance can make it easier and less expensive for you to visit the dentist regularly and take good care of your oral health.
Is dental insurance worth it for young adults?
Even for young adults on a budget, dental insurance can be worth it. Dental insurance usually covers preventive care at 80% to 100%. That means if you’re seeing the dentist twice a year as recommended, monthly premiums can virtually pay for themselves. As a young adult starting out on your own, the last thing you need is a major dental expense you can’t afford. Dental insurance can help ease that financial burden.
How to get dental insurance coverage
As a young adult, the cheapest and most convenient way to retain continuous dental coverage may be to stay on your parents’ dental insurance. However, if that’s not an option for you, don’t fret. Obtaining dental insurance coverage is easy – and relatively inexpensive.
One option is to receive dental benefits through an employer. If you’ve recently landed a full-time position that offers benefits, see if your employer offers dental coverage.
If you’re still a student, you’re self-employed, or your current employer doesn’t offer adequate dental benefits, you can purchase individual dental insurance online. It’s fast, simple, and affordable – plans start at $20 per month in most states. That way, you can take charge of your oral health and choose a plan that suits your needs best.
How Guardian Direct covers dependents
At Guardian Direct, you can add dependents up to age 26 on your dental insurance policy no questions asked. Dependents 26 to 30 must be enrolled in school full-time or be incapable of supporting themselves due to a disability.
If your parents are willing and you’re young enough to stay on your parents’ insurance, it can help you stay covered, keep your same dentist, and save some money. But if not, you can always obtain dental insurance benefits by purchasing a direct dental insurance plan or through your employer.
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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. 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.