Dental insurance premiums ranged from less than $10 per month to more than $80 per month in our review of quotes across the largest dental insurance companies. Your location, age deductible, copays, and coinsurance amounts plus the annual maximum benefit all impact the premium, but they also affect how much you’ll pay, overall, for dental insurance. As does the company you choose. This is why rates can vary significantly.
To help you gauge the potential cost of dental insurance, we got quotes from some of the most popular dental insurance companies. We also researched helpful tips for saving money on your dental coverage.
Average Cost of Dental Insurance
Because rates vary significantly, it’s a good idea to compare quotes and plan details and determine how much coverage you want and can afford. In the table below, you can see sample quotes from several insurers.
Generally, dental HMOs, also known as DHMOs, are more affordable than PPOs, because you have less flexibility in choosing your dental provider and specialists. And preventative services often have a low or $0 copay regardless of plan type or company.
|Plan Type||Monthly Premium||Copay||Deductible||Coinsurance %||Annual Maximum|
|Cigna||HMO||$18||Some preventive services $0; other copays apply||$0||Pre-set fee for services||None|
|Renaissance Dental||PPO||$37.50||$0 for some preventative services||$50||50% for routine care, 50% for basic services, and 50% for major services||$1,000|
|Humana||PPO||$49.99||N/A||$150 (one-time for the life of the plan)||0% for routine care, 60% for basic services after 1st year, 80% for major services after 1st year||$1,000/$1,250/$1,500 (years 1, 2, 3)|
|Delta Dental||HMO||$26.14||$0 for most preventive and diagnostic services; other copays apply||$0||Copayments for services||$1,000 on some specialty services, otherwise no maximum|
|UnitedHealthcare||PPO||$50.14||N/A||$50||0% for routine care, 35% for basic services after 1st year, 50% for major services after 1st year||$1,000|
|MetLife||HMO||$7.50||$10 for office visits; $20 for cleanings; other copays apply||$0||75% for oral surgery and orthodontics||N/A|
|United Concordia||Discount||$12.08||$102 for cleanings; available discounts for most procedures||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Ameritas||PPO||$82.02||No copays||$50||0% for routine care, 20%/10% for basic services after years 1 and 2, 80%/50% for major services after years 1 and 2||$2,500|
Quotes were collected for a 30-year-old female living in Massachusetts on an individual plan with no dependents. We focused on plans that had a $50 deductible and an annual maximum benefit of around $1,000. However, some providers did not offer plans that matched our specific criteria.
Many plans have a schedule of benefits with copays for specific services such as dental fillings, crowns, and orthodontia instead of pre-set coinsurance amounts—be sure to compare each company’s schedule of benefits, provider network, premium, deductible, and annual maximum before selecting a policy.
Factors Influencing Cost
Much like health insurance premiums, dental insurance premiums are impacted by multiple factors. Here are some of the criteria that can affect your dental insurance rate.
Type of Dental Policy
Plan type is one of the biggest factors that impact prices. In general, dental PPO plans are more expensive than dental HMO plans. Some of the most common dental plans include:
- DPPO: A dental preferred provider organization (DPPO) plan provides the most coverage for in-network care and partial coverage for out-of-network care. Preventative care, like annual cleanings, is usually covered at 100%. These plans typically have a deductible and coinsurance, and have no referral requirements.
- DHMO: A dental health maintenance organization (DMHO) plan only covers dental services you receive from an in-network provider. Preventative care is usually covered at 100%, but non-preventative care can be much more expensive, depending on the plan’s schedule of benefits. One of the biggest benefits of a DHMO plan is that premiums are usually low. However, you must work with a primary care dentist and get a referral to see specialists.
- Indemnity: An indemnity plan allows you to visit any dentist you want. Unlike other plans, there’s no network. You pay for services out-of-pocket, including a deductible and coinsurance.
- DPOS: A dental point of service (DPOS) plan combines elements from a DPPO and a DHMO. You can visit a provider in-network or out-of-network, but you pay the lowest cost when you go in-network. DPOS plans offer more flexibility than other plans, but they often have high deductibles, copays, and premiums.
- DEPO: A dental exclusive provider organization (DEPO) plan requires you to visit an in-network provider, except for dental emergencies. There are no referrals required, so you can visit any specialist you want, as long as they are in-network. DEPO plans typically have a deductible and coinsurance.
A deductible is the amount of money you’re required to pay out-of-pocket before your benefits kick in. In general, dental insurance plans with higher deductibles have lower monthly premiums and vice versa.
A copay is the amount of money you pay your dental provider for certain services, like x-rays or an office visit. For example, if your plan has a $20 copay for cleanings, you would be required to pay the $20 fee upfront before you get seen. Then, your insurance company pays the rest. Some companies don’t require copays for preventative or diagnostic services.
Copays are often much higher for special procedures. For example, Delta Dental charges a $315 copay for molar root canals and more than $700 for a porcelain crown. Ask for each plan’s schedule of benefits to compare procedure costs between companies before selecting a plan.
Coinsurance is the amount of money you pay out-of-pocket for covered dental services after you’ve reached your deductible. Unlike copays, coinsurance is usually expressed as a percentage. So, if you have a 75% coinsurance share for major services, like oral surgery, you would pay 75% of the total cost. Some companies use copays instead of coinsurance.
Many dental plans have an annual maximum, which is the most amount of money your insurance company will pay for all covered dental services in one year. However, some companies have no annual maximum, which can be crucial if you expect to require frequent or expensive dental care.
In general, the higher the annual maximum is, the more expensive the premium will be.
What Does Dental Insurance Cover?
Dental insurance provides comprehensive coverage for most dental services, including:
- Routine and preventative care: Routine care is a category that contains preventative care and diagnostics, including cleanings, full mouth x-rays, sealants, and fluoride treatments. Most plans provide coverage for a limited number of routine services, such as two cleanings per year or one set of x-rays per year.
- Basic services: Basic dental care includes services beyond routine care, such as fillings and simple extractions.
- Major services: Major services are typically the most expensive dental procedures, like root canals, surgical extractions, dental implants, treatment for periodontal disease, and crowns. Some plans have a waiting period before major services will be covered. If you need coverage sooner, you might choose a dental plan with no waiting period.
What Doesn’t Dental Insurance Cover?
While every dental insurance plan is different, most plans don’t provide coverage for any of the following services:
- Cosmetic dentistry
- Non-essential veneers
- Adult orthodontics
- Teeth whitening
How To Save Money on Dental Insurance
While some dental insurance plans are relatively affordable, plans with more coverage and better benefits can be more expensive. Here are some ways to potentially get a lower dental insurance premium:
- Choose a discount plan: Dental discount plans aren’t actual insurance plans, but they give you access to discounted dental care from participating providers. Instead of a premium, you usually pay a membership fee. This can be a good option if you don’t need frequent dental care.
- Get multiple plan quotes: Dental insurance premiums depend on many factors, including the insurance company you choose. To find the most affordable plan for you, it’s a good idea to shop around and get quotes from a few different insurers.
- Get care at a dental school: If you live near a dental school, consider having your dental work done there. Dental schools often offer discounted services, which could help you save significant amounts of money, depending on the care you need. Dental schools are usually staffed by students in the dental program, but their work is overseen by a practicing dentist.
Can I Purchase Dental Insurance on My Own?
Yes, you can purchase dental insurance on your own. Dental insurance can be purchased from a private insurance company or through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace. Many insurance companies offer individual and family dental insurance plans, which differ in terms of benefits and premiums.
Can I Buy Dental Insurance at Any Time?
You can buy dental insurance at any time if you buy a policy from a private insurance company. If you want to purchase a policy through the ACA Marketplace, you must wait for the annual Open Enrollment period, unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
How Much Are Dental Visits Without Insurance?
The cost of a dental visit depends on the type of service being provided, your age, and where you live. For example, the average cleaning (prophylaxis) costs $97.50 for adults and $73.04 for children. Specialty services, like extractions, tissue grafts, and denture placement tend to have much higher costs. To cut costs, buy dental insurance or a dental discount plan.
What Are the Most Common Types of Dental Insurance?
Dental PPO (DPPO) plans are the most common type of dental plan. Data from the National Association of Dental Plans (NADP) finds that 86% of all commercial dental insurance policies are DPPOs. However, DHMO plans, DPOS plans, and dental indemnity plans are also common.
American Dental Association. “Results from the 2020 Survey of Dental Fees," Page 2.
National Association of Dental Plans. “Understanding Dental Benefits.”