Best Dental Insurance Providers for Seniors

Cigna offers affordable dental plans with robust preventative care coverage

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Dental insurance for seniors is the same as dental insurance for younger individuals, but focuses on the coverages seniors are likely to need. These include crowns, root canals, dentures, and tooth replacement. Even though these are not unique to seniors, there is a higher probability that seniors will need one or more of these coverages.

The best senior dental insurance options help you budget and save money in retirement while still getting proper dental care. They feature low prices, short waiting periods, and minimal copays. They also have high annual maximums to cover expensive procedures and flexible coverage depending on your needs.

Best Dental Insurance Providers for Seniors of 2021

Best for Preventive Care : Cigna


Cigna

  Cigna

  • No. Policy Types: 3
  • Coverage Limit ($): $1,500
  • No. States Available: 49
Why We Chose It

We selected Cigna as the best for preventive care because they are not only affordable, but they have $0 deductible and $0 copay preventive dental plans and make life easy with 24/7 customer service and zero-paperwork claims.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Offers three different plans

  • In-network preventive care paid at 100%

  • No waiting period for preventive/diagnostic care

  • Online claims handling and an app to manage claims

  • 24/7 service and access to a health information line

Cons
  • Basic plan only covers preventive services

  • $1,000/$1,500 maximum annual benefit

Overview

Cigna has been in business for more than 225 years and currently serves over 17 million U.S. dental insurance customers individually and through employee benefit programs. They have a BBB Rating of A-. AM Best gives Cigna an A rating for financial strength. Cigna was our number-one choice for best for preventive care for seniors based on several factors, which include:

  • No deductible and no copay for preventive care that includes cleanings and routine x-rays
  • A nationwide network of over 93,000+ dentists
  • No need to file claims in-network—your dentist does it for you
  • Their Brighter Score tool rates dentists based on affordability and patient experience
  • 24/7/365 customer support and more

You can choose from three dental plans that range in price and coverage, starting with Cigna Dental Preventive, which is the most affordable at $19 per month and is perfect for routine exams. Cigna Dental 1000 costs $30 per month and allows for dental work beyond basic preventive care, including for some forms of restoration, with a coverage maximum of $1,000. The highest level of protection, Cigna Dental 1500, gives you all the preventive and restorative care of the 1000-level plan, plus some orthodontia coverage and a $1,500 maximum, all for $35 monthly. Deductibles are $50 per person or $150 for a family.

There is a six-month waiting period for basic coverages and 12 months for major work. If you have 12 months of prior continuous insurance with another provider, you can make the switch to Cigna, and the waiting periods may be waived.

Best for Provider Flexibility : Aflac


Aflac

Aflac

  • No. Policy Types: 3
  • Coverage Limit ($): $1,600
  • No. States Available: 50
Why We Chose It

Aflac allows you to visit the dentist of your choice and does not restrict your access to a network, making them our top pick for best senior dental insurance with provider flexibility.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Patients can visit any dentist

  • No deductibles

  • Direct reimbursement

Cons
  • Variable waiting periods

  • Exclusions for preexisting conditions

  • Availability varies by state

Overview

Aflac has been a trusted name in supplemental health and dental coverage since 1955. They insure over 50 million people and have a Moody’s debt rating of A3, as well as a record of low complaints with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Aflac pays claim reimbursements directly to you, not the dentist opening up a national network of dentists for flexibility and convenience. They offer online policy management with access to other supplemental insurance coverage, such as vision plans.

Aflac waiting periods are defined per service category, which is found in the schedule of benefits. For example, there is no waiting period for a dental wellness visit or x-rays. Pain relief has a three-month waiting period, extractions have a six-month waiting period, root canals have a 12-month waiting period, and dentures have a 24-month waiting period. Annual maximums vary by plan; we found examples up to $1,600.

Aflac has many exclusions that relate to pre-existing conditions or work done within recent time periods. For example, missing teeth before the start of coverage are not covered.

Best for Annual Maximums : Renaissance Dental


Renaissance

Renaissance

  • No. Policy Types: 3
  • Coverage Limit: $3,000
  • No. States Available: 50
Why We Chose It

With a high annual maximum of $3,000, Renaissance Dental is a good choice for seniors who have a major dental expense coming up.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Plans with no waiting period

  • Participating dentists submit the claim for you

  • Loyalty program with increasing annual maximums

  • Possibility to bundle dental with vision care

  • Cleanings covered up to three times a year on some plans

Cons
  • Annual maximum of $3,000 is only available in the Max Plus Plan

  • Can be expensive depending on the state

  • No orthodontics for seniors

Overview

Renaissance was founded in 1957 and covers over 13 million people for dental, vision, life, and disability insurance. They have an AM Best Financial Strength Rating of A+ (Superior) as of May 2020.

Premiums for Renaissance plans can vary a lot. You can see your price on their website.

Renaissance has no waiting periods on cleanings on any plan. Nor is there a waiting period for fillings or crowns on the MAX Choice Plan and MAX Choice Plus. Annual maximums ranged from $750 on their very basic plans up to $3,000 on the top tier plan. There is a $50 deductible for individual plans and a $150 deductible for family plans. 

Some of Renaissance’s basic plans exclude major work like root canals or crowns. However, they do offer other plans that provide 20% coverage in the first year. If you remain insured with them, they reward loyalty with a coverage increase on major work each year, up to year three, where they provide up to 50% coverage for major work.  

Best for Affordable Options : Humana


Humana

Humana

  • No. Policy Types: 3
  • Coverage Limit ($): Varies
  • No. States Available: 50
Why We Chose It

Humana offers several plan options with loyalty advantages, lifetime deductibles, and the ability to add vision coverage. With so many options to choose from, Humana is our top pick for the best affordable options because seniors can find the plan that meets their needs and budgets.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Large provider network

  • Several plans to choose from

  • Waiting periods may be waived with proof of prior insurance

  • Loyalty plans with increasing maximum benefits

  • Some plans offer lifetime deductibles

Cons
  • Six-month waiting period for fillings

  • Annual plan maximums $1,000 to $1,250 in the first year

  • Some states charge enrollment fees of $35

  • Not all plans are available in all states

Overview

Founded in 1961 with headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky, Humana has a long history in health insurance. Their excellent reputation has earned them a solid A- financial strength rating from AM Best. Humana's complaints trend with the NAIC shows them receiving a slightly above average number of complaints.

Humana offers dental insurance plans in most states and with several options, whether you want a preventive-only policy or more extensive coverage.

  • Preventive Value PPO: $50 per person lifetime deductible (maximum $150 per family) with no waiting periods on preventive care or basic services, such as emergency care for pain relief, extractions, root removal, and fillings.
  • Dental Preventive Plus PPO: $50 per person deductible (maximum $150 per family) with a six-month waiting period on basic services.
  • Dental Loyalty Plus PPO: $150 individual lifetime deductible (maximum $450 for a family) with no waiting periods.
  • Complete Dental PPO: $50 individual and a $150 family deductible. Deductibles are waived for in-network preventive care. There is no waiting period for preventive services, a six-month waiting period for basic services, and a 63 day waiting period for major services.

There's a variety of options from Humana that will help save you money, and you can find exactly which ones fit your personal needs and work within your budget. For instance, you can add vision coverage to your plan for as little as $17 per month on average.

Additionally, the Dental Loyalty Plus PPO has an annual maximum that starts at $1,000 and increases yearly ($1,250 in year two, $1,500 in years three and beyond), so the longer you keep your policy, the more you get back from it. Some plans have no annual maximum, and others provide between 80% and 50% co-insurance on certain procedures. Check the easy-to-use comparison of plans quote tool on the website for details.

Best for Fast Coverage : United Healthcare


United Healthcare

United Healthcare

  • No. Policy Types: 4
  • Coverage Limit ($): $2,000
  • No. States Available: 44
Why We Chose It

With no waiting periods on all four dental plans designed for seniors, United Healthcare is a great choice for seniors looking for immediate coverage.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Can add vision as a rider on the dental plan

  • Hearing aids/exams included in the dental plan

  • No waiting periods on many services

  • Direct payment to in-network dentists

  • No maximum age limit

Cons
  • Only offered in 44 states plus the District of Columbia

  • Out-of-network coverage is more expensive and less convenient

Overview

UnitedHealthcare has been in business since 1974 and has a Moody’s rating of A1, stable. UnitedHealthcare dental insurance is available in 44 states plus the District of Columbia. They offer four Dental Gen Plans, as they're known, that are very specifically tailored to the needs of seniors.

Gen policies come with senior-friendly options, such as adding vision and hearing aid benefits to your dental package and enjoying day-one coverage for many services. The basic Gen Saver Dental plan is the cheapest option. Moving up there is the Gen Basic Dental and then the Gen Plus Dental. Lastly, the top-tier Gen Deluxe Dental is the premier option.

What sets UnitedHealthcare's Gen dental insurance apart is their immediate coverage—preventive care has no waiting period in all Gen plans, and basic services are available with no waiting period or up to a four-month waiting period, depending on the plan. Major services have a six-month waiting period (if covered). This day-one coverage is a huge convenience and helps UnitedHealthcare Gen plans stand apart from the competition.

Some other features and benefits include:

  • Plans have annual maximums ranging from $1,000 to $2,000.
  • Gen Basic, Saver, and Plus plans have a $100 deductible per person per year; the Deluxe Plan is $50 per person per year.
  • Preventive care is covered 100% on the Basic and Deluxe plans but only 60% on the Saver and Plus plans.
  • Major services on these plans are covered at 10% on day one but increase to 40% in a year and 50% in two.

Coverage is excluded outside the United States, except for dental emergencies. Teeth that were missing before the policy starts are also excluded. There is no coverage for replacing full or partial dentures, crowns, inlays, onlays, and veneers within 60 months of the last replacement.

Best for Largest Provider Network : Aetna


Aetna

Aetna

  • No. Policy Types: 2
  • Coverage Limit ($): $1,250
  • No. States Available: 50
Why We Chose It

Aetna boasts a tremendous network of 120,000 providers, which puts it well above the competition in this review and makes it easy and convenient to find the right dentist in your area.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Largest provider network with 120,000 providers

  • No waiting period for preventive services

Cons
  • Six-month waiting period for basic services including fillings and extractions

  • Limited coverage in Massachusetts

  • Limited plan options

Overview

Aetna has been providing dental benefits for over 50 years and serves almost 13 million dental members. Aetna has the most far-reaching provider network of our review, with more than 120,000 practitioners to choose from, which makes it especially easy for seniors to find a nearby dentist without the need to travel too far.

Aetna’s dental plans are available in most states; they offer online account management that allows you to get cost estimates, find an in-network dentist online, as well as check claims and statements.

There are two coverage tiers for seniors to choose from: the Preferred PPO and the lower-tiered Core PPO plan. There is a $50 deductible per person or $150 deductible for a family per calendar year.

Preventive services never have a waiting period, basic services have a six-month waiting period, and major services have a 12-month waiting period. Waiting periods may be waived with proof of prior dental insurance.

Annual maximum benefits are $1,000 or $1,250 in-network. Aetna's dental plans have 20% to 50% coinsurance for basic and major work.

Best Value : Delta Dental (AARP Member Plans)


Delta Dental

Delta Dental

  • No. Policy Types: 2
  • Coverage Limit ($): $1,500
  • No. States Available: 50
Why We Chose It

Delta Dental offers plans geared toward seniors either through the AARP and directly on their website. They provide a lot of information and resources for retirees on their site, and they were one of the few insurers we reviewed offering immediate coverage for fillings, denture repair, tooth removal, and root canals in the AARP Plan.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Special pricing for seniors

  • No waiting periods for many services

  • Guaranteed acceptance for AARP members

Cons
  • 12 month waiting period for major work on some plans

  • PPO plans feature deductibles and maximums

Overview

Delta Dental is the leading provider of dental insurance in the U.S., offering coverage in all states and serving over 80 million Americans. Delta Dental is a not-for-profit organization made up of 39 independent Delta Dental companies. They have an AM Best financial strength rating of A (Excellent).

Delta Dental has contracted with AARP to provide members with special pricing to help seniors fit dental insurance into their budgets, and there are HMO (DeltaCare USA) and PPO (Plan A and B) plans available. The HMO is the cheapest option, followed by the PPO B, and lastly, the PPO A is the most expensive option. The PPO plans allow you to choose any dentist, while the HMO plan utilizes a network of dental facilities.

There is no waiting period on the DeltaCare USA Plan; PPO Plans A and B also have no waiting period for diagnostic and preventive services. There is a six month waiting period for bleaching on Plan A (not covered on Plan B) and a one-year waiting period for major restorative work, periodontics, prosthodontics, and other treatments. Delta Dental provides limited anesthesia coverage, which is often excluded from other dental policies in certain circumstances.

There is no annual maximum and no deductible on the DeltaCare USA plan. The PPO plans have an annual maximum of $1,000 to $1,500 with deductibles (typically per person per year) ranging from $40 to $90 depending on service and plan.

Final Verdict

There are lots of options when it comes to dental insurance plans for seniors. Many providers offer plans specifically tailored to seniors, with senior-friendly pricing and the option to add additional coverage for things like vision and hearing. Overall, our top pick for a dental insurance provider for seniors is Cigna.

Cigna features affordable dental plans with an emphasis on preventative care. There’s no waiting period for preventative and diagnostic care, and in-network preventative care is 100% covered. Cigna also features 24/7 access to an informational line and a simple claims process.

Compare The Best Dental Insurance Providers for Seniors

Company Plans (#)  Coverage Limit  Waiting Period  Deductible 
Cigna
Best for Preventative Care
3 $1,500 0 to 12 months $50
Aflac
Best for Provider Flexibility 
$1,600  0 to 24 months  None
Renaissance Dental
Best for Annual Maximums 
$3,000  Varies  $50 
Humana
Best for Affordable Options 
Varies  0 to 6 months  $50 to $150
United Healthcare
Best for Fast Coverage 
$2,000  0 to 6 months  $50 to $100 
Aetna
Best for Largest Provider Network 
$1,250  0 to 12 months  $50 
Delta Dental AARP
Best Value 
$1,500  0 to 12 months  $0 to $90 

Guide to Choosing the Best Dental Insurance Providers for Seniors

How Much Dental Coverage Do Seniors Need? 

Seniors have unique needs when it comes to dental insurance. For example, they may be more likely than younger patients to need major services like crowns, root canals, and dentures. Because these procedures can be expensive without insurance, it’s usually a good idea to purchase as much insurance coverage as you can comfortably afford. It’s also a good idea to put some money aside for future dental expenses in your budget.

Comparing Dental Insurance Plans for Seniors

When comparing dental insurance plans, there are a few important factors that you should consider. These include:

  • Cost: Look for plans with low premiums and deductibles.
  • Coverage limits: If you know you’re likely to need major dental work in the future, you should choose a plan with a high maximum coverage limit.
  • Availability: Look for a provider that has availability in your area and a large network.
  • Waiting periods: The best dental plans have short waiting periods that allow you to get the coverage you need when you need it.

Using Dental Insurance for Seniors

As a senior, it’s important to stay on top of preventative care in order to prevent future dental problems down the line. Many dental insurance plans offer free preventative care services with no waiting period. If you know you’ll need dental work in the future, it’s a good idea to purchase dental insurance as soon as possible, since some plans have waiting periods of up to two years for major services.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does Dental Insurance Typically Exclude?

Exclusions refer to services that are not covered by your dental plan. The most affordable dental insurance plans typically exclude coverage for basic and major services and only cover preventive care such as cleanings. Here are some examples of excluded coverages:

  • Basic services like fillings or major services like crowns or bridges 
  • Cosmetic work 
  • Natural or alternative treatments like acupuncture 
  • Some companies limit anesthesia in certain circumstances
  • Many companies exclude orthodontics, even on their top-tier plans
  • Pain management may be limited or excluded and subject to frequency limits and waiting periods
  • Pre-existing conditions (some plans won't cover replacement of teeth missing before your policy began, for example)

Once you reach the annual coverage maximum, you will receive no more coverage, and additional work will be excluded until the next year. 

When considering exclusions on dental insurance, remember that you have various choices of coverage. Dental insurance plans vary depending on the provider, with the least expensive plans often providing only very limited preventive or routine services. The benefit level you choose will determine how much coverage you have vs. how much work will be paid out of pocket. 

Here is an overview of what each type of coverage is typically defined as.

  • Preventive Coverage: Preventive coverage may or may not have a waiting period or deductible. Some plans have a copay. Preventive coverage includes cleanings and most routine care. 
  • Basic Coverage: Basic coverage is typically for services like simple fillings and simple restorative work. Each company will define this coverage differently.
  • Major Coverage: This may include services like root canals, crowns, dentures, and bridges.

How Much Does Dental Insurance Cost for Seniors?

The average cost of dental insurance for seniors can start as low as $20 per month for very basic preventive plans for routine services like cleanings, x-rays, and check-ups. Costs can go up to around $80 a month for full-access coverage, including preventive, basic, and major dental work. Your choice of waiting periods, level of coverage (with copays and deductibles or not), and whether you will use in-network dentists will make a difference in the premium you pay.

Is Paying for Dental Insurance as a Senior Worth It?

Regular preventive care and treatment contribute to helping you maintain a better quality of life. Dental work such as cleanings, fillings, tooth extractions, or most dental devices are not covered by Medicare and can be expensive. Finding an affordable dental insurance company is important if you are not prepared to pay these costs out of pocket. 

For example, bridgework can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $15,000. Dental insurance with benefit caps may not cover the entire cost but will help offset it. If you anticipate needing dental work, you’ll want to run some numbers to see how much you would anticipate paying with the premiums plus any copays and out-of-pocket costs compared to the cost of the work to determine its overall value to you.

The key is finding a good dental insurance plan that has:

  • A high annual maximum (or no annual maximum)
  • No waiting periods
  • Low to no copays

The cost of not treating dental issues early will result in much higher costs later. Having a basic plan will provide the peace of mind you need to handle things as they come up and avoid dealing with major work down the line.

Methodology

We looked at the top dental insurance providers in the U.S., comparing information from online reviews, prices, financial strength ratings, complaints with regulators, and individual insurer websites and quotes to find the best dental insurance companies for seniors.

We looked for the companies offering the highest annual maximums, no waiting periods, and those that offered a range of coverage options. We investigated which plans work well for a budget or provided flexibility with the least amount of unexpected cost. Companies that rewarded loyalty were also included. We also considered features important to seniors like the continuation of coverage, pre-existing condition coverage, coverage outside the U.S. (or not), and network provider options.

Our goal was to find dental plans that suited various lifestyles and needs, either offering budget plans, full dental plans, or plans with add-ons like vision or hearing aid care, to give you the widest overview and allow you to make an informed decision when choosing the Best Dental Insurance for Seniors. 

Article Sources

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