Open Enrollment and Dental Insurance Updates

Dental Health
By: Spirit Dental
November 12, 2020

Man and woman looking at open enrollment documents

It’s that time of year again: Open Enrollment has just past, but that doesn’t mean you’ve missed the opportunity to sign up for dental insurance. That’s why we’ve put together a list of things you should know!

Things can get complicated and confusing when shopping for insurance, but we’ve got you covered with some information to clear things up and help you get started.

How to Use the Marketplace to Buy Dental Insurance

How can you find the right dental insurance plan? Well, you can start by looking in the Health Insurance Marketplace during Open Enrollment.

There, you can purchase health insurance that comes with dental coverage. If you find a health insurance plan that suits your needs and budget, and it also provides some level of dental coverage, the nice thing is that you’ll only be required to pay one premium to get all of that support whenever you see your doctor or dentist.

As an alternative, you can also look for stand-alone dental plans on the Marketplace, but you can only purchase one of these plans if you’re also signing up for a health insurance policy at the same time.

With a stand-alone plan that’s separate from your health insurance policy, you’ll have separate out-of-pocket costs, such as a premium. But you might discover that these plans provide more comprehensive coverage, as well as a bigger network of providers, that may help you save more money in the long run, especially if you see your dentist regularly or need expensive treatments.

What to Expect from the Health Insurance Marketplace

As you look through your dental plan options on the Marketplace, you’ll notice that there are two main categories to choose from:

Low coverage – You’ll enjoy a lower premium, but the tradeoff will be a higher copay and deductible. 

High coverage – You’ll pay a higher premium, but you’ll be able to enjoy a lower copay and deductible when you see your dentist. 

What about adult coverage vs. child coverage?

Dental coverage is considered essential for kids. So, if you’re enrolling in health insurance for your child who’s 18 years of age or younger, dental coverage, either through a stand-alone plan or a health insurance policy, has to be available. This doesn’t mean you actually have to buy it, though.

When it comes to adults, because dental coverage isn’t considered an essential benefit, insurance companies aren’t required to offer it.

The Perks of Choosing a Stand-Alone Dental Insurance Plan

Sure, you can sign up for a health insurance policy that includes some level of dental coverage. But these types of plans might be out of your budget, or they might not give you the amount of coverage that you require for your oral health needs.

Also, if you ever want to change or cancel your dental plan in the middle of the year, you can do so at any time if you have a stand-alone plan. This won’t affect your health insurance coverage.

On the other hand, if you’re getting your dental coverage through your health insurance plan, you’ll need to meet certain requirements to be able to cancel outside of Open Enrollment. Basically, if a specific life event qualifies you for what’s known as a Special Enrollment Period, you’ll be able to pick new health insurance, whether it includes dental coverage or not. However, you won’t be able to get a stand-alone dental plan from the Marketplace under these circumstances.   

Do You Have to Wait Until Open Enrollment to Buy Dental Insurance?

The answer is no, but there are some things to consider:

Open Enrollment is great for setting aside time to look at the insurance you have, or don’t have, and then finding the plan that will fill in any gaps in coverage. Plus, certain dental plans might only be available during this time period, so it’s worth taking a look if you’re interested in getting new, or better, coverage.

If you aren’t happy with your current health insurance, now is the time when you get to switch to a better plan. When it comes to dental insurance, however, you don’t need to wait until Open Enrollment to make your decision. That’s because you’re allowed to purchase stand-alone dental insurance at any time throughout the year.   

Ready to Shop? Check Out Spirit Dental!

Whether you used Open Enrollment to remind yourself of the need to purchase dental insurance, or you decide that you want to wait until the middle of the year to get the coverage you desire, Spirit Dental has your back with affordable plans to suit every budget. Unlike dental insurance that comes bundled with health insurance, Spirit plans offer stellar perks like $5,000 annual maximums, three cleanings per year, and dental insurance for major restorative care. And you can sign up whenever you’re ready, as well as cancel at any time!   

When shopping for dental insurance, you can do it all on your own, contact an insurance agent for assistance, or contact insurance providers like Spirit directly for personalized support. Once you have the right plan in place, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to see your dentist whenever necessary to get the care you need to maintain a healthy smile.


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