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2021 Benefits Enrollment: Dental Insurance Thumbnail

2021 Benefits Enrollment: Dental Insurance

As part of your benefits enrollment at work, you may have an option to sign up for dental insurance. This is an important decision for your whole family. Don’t just assume that signing up for the same option as last year is the best option. You can’t predict the future, but there’s some reasonable things you can do as you make an educated choice during your employer’s annual enrollment period that will affect your 2021 dental care costs and benefits.

Dental Insurance at Work

Benefit packages that offer dental insurance have become increasingly common. About 50 percent of US companies offer dental insurance. If you work for a mid to large size employer, your odds are better with about 90 percent of employers with 500 employees and up choosing to offer dental benefits. Like other benefits, it’s important to choose wisely when annual benefits enrollment comes up.



Is your dentist of choice covered by the plan?

Like medical insurance, dental insurance plans are often network based. In other words, some dentists are covered by a given plan and some are not. If you have an established relationship with a dentist you want to keep, an important step will be to confirm that dentist office is “in-network.”


What is covered by the plan?

Generally, dental insurance is divided into three categories of covered services. Expect the plan cover a different percentage of the cost in each category. For example, expect the plan to cover more of the cost for cleaning than for something like a crown.

Preventative Care

Regular Cleanings, X-rays and sealants


Basic Procedures

Filling, extractions, and periodontal treatment


Major Procedures

Crowns, Bridges, dentures, and implants


Also remember that dental plans tend to not cover procedures considered to be “cosmetic” like teeth whitening.


A word on Braces and Orthodontia

Some dental plans include coverage for braces, but there’s a number of caveats to remember. First, don’t expect the plan to cover the entire bill from the orthodontist. If covered, the plan will usually only cover a portion of the cost for braces. Some plans also include a waiting period before you can receive covered treatment. For example, there might be a number of months your family will be required to have the plan before braces are considered a covered procedure. Lastly, if the plan does indeed cover braces, carefully read the fine print about who in the family can be covered. Some plans will cover braces for minors, but not for adults.


Choosing When There's More than one Dental Plan

It's less common to have multiple dental options than it is with other benefits like medical insurance, but you may encounter a choice. If you have multiple dental coverage options, carefully review what is covered and the associated costs. One likely difference will the be deductible for the plan. Remember, this is the amount your family will be responsible for before the provided will start to pay. Also, look our for any difference in things like co-pay, yearly limits, or lifetime limits. 

Does my Family Need to Sign Up for Dental?

Some families consider not signing up for employer dental insurance. It’s possible that you could come out better by paying out of pocket for dental procedures or getting dental insurance on your own, but it’s unlikely. The odds are that your family will come out better by signing up for dental insurance at work.

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