A Guide to Dental Insurance for U.S. Visitors
How It Works and Where to Get It
Dental insurance works similar to health insurance in that you will pay a monthly premium so that the insurer will help you cover the costs of everything from office visits for routine checkups to major care needs. Most insurance policies identify a “network” of dentists who are willing to accept your dental coverage. If you choose one of the dentists in the network, then most or all of your visit will be covered by the insurance plan. But if you pick a doctor outside of the network, then your insurance cannot be used and you will not be able to save money with the plan.
For most people, dental insurance is obtained through their employer. This allows them to get coverage at a low rate because their employer is purchasing care at a large scale. But if your employer does not offer dental coverage, or if you are visiting the country temporarily, then you may need to find insurance for dental coverage on your own. You can now simply search online and find a dental insurance plan that is tailored to your needs and purchase a policy even without the help of an employer.
This will allow you to find the plan that is the best fit from both the perspectives of how much coverage you need and how much you would like to pay, making it easy for visitors to the U.S. to get dental insurance. If you are a U.S. citizen, you can also obtain dental insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
Because the ACA makes offering healthcare mandatory for employers, you may wonder whether having dental insurance is required by law. The short answer is that for you the person securing insurance, you do not have to purchase dental insurance. However dental insurance must be made available to children as part of the Affordable Care Act. But just because it is available to you does not mean you have to purchase it. Dental insurance does not have to be made available to adults as part of the ACA.
When purchasing through the ACA, you can only buy a dental insurance plan when also buying a healthcare plan. If buying through an employer, you can buy dental insurance without also buying health insurance. If you are buying a plan like the Primestar Dental Plan and Patriot Exchange Plan, then you can make your purchase at any time, regardless of whether your employer or the ACA is having an enrollment period.
If you are obtaining dental insurance through your employer, you will basically have two opportunities each year to purchase it. One is during your employer’s annual open enrollment period, and the other is if you were receiving insurance through your spouse’s employer but something changes in their employment status. Outside of those two events, your employer will not offer you dental insurance, but you can find a plan on your own and opt into that.
One other factor you will want to consider in choosing visitors dental insurance is whether the plan is a PPO or an HMO. A PPO does not have the network restrictions that come along with an HMO, but will come at a higher financial expense. You will likely wind up paying more out of pocket with a PPO, but you may prefer to have more flexibility in who you choose as your provider.
Cost and Services Covered
The out of pocket cost, meaning what you would pay without insurance, for a dental checkup is around $300. That is a simple checkup, and that assumes you don’t need any additional services. You should probably visit the dentist for a checkup twice per year, so you’re already spending $600 and once again that assumes there are no problems with your teeth to address. The average plan costs $350 per year, so you can see right away where you can save money by investing in a good dental insurance for students plan.
Dental insurance plans listed here cost either $20 or $48 per month, with $20 representing dental insurance only and the $48 price representing both dental and health coverage.
Like medical coverage, you will generally need to pay copay or coinsurance fees for office visits under dental insurance plans. The amount you pay will vary based on the plan you have and whether you use an in or out of network provider. Using an in-network provider will keep your coinsurance costs low, but opting for out of network coverage will result in your paying the full amount for coverage out of your own pocket.
As with coinsurance, the amount of your deductible will vary based on what plan you have. But beyond the deductible, it is important to understand annual and lifetime maximum benefits. One of the unique things about dental insurance is that unlike health insurance programs which typically cover everything after a deductible has been covered, dental plans have annual maximums which place a ceiling on how much an insurer will pay in a year. Visitor Guard insurance plans have maximum benefit amounts ranging between $1,000 and $2,000 based on the plan that visitors select.
There are a variety of potential issues that you will want to make sure the insurance plan you choose covers.
Visitor Guard plans also offer orthodontic coverage, so adults and children can get braces if needed. Invisalign is now covered by some insurance plans. Visitor Guard insurance plans offer visitors to the U.S. the chance to receive teeth straightening services with 50% of the costs paid by the insurer after nine months owning the policy.
Oral surgery is covered by dental insurance plans, though the amount you will pay varies based on the terms and conditions of your policy. The Visitor Guard plan covers 50% of oral surgery costs after 9 months.
Of course not every dental need will be as major as oral surgery or orthodontics. Getting a cavity filled can cost anywhere from $132 to $1,123 depending on what sort of material is used for the filling according to FAIR Health. A dental insurance plan for visitors like the Visitor Guard plan covers 50% of that expense on the first day of owning the policy, and 80% after one year of having the policy.
If you are visiting the U.S. for school or work, dental insurance is a wise investment. With the right plan, you can keep monthly costs manageable while saving yourself significant expense in the long run. Plans like those offered by Visitor Guard offer a perfect option for you.