Find the Best Dental Insurance of 2016

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Finding affordable dental insurance can sometimes seem like you’re searching for a flying unicorn. Fortunately, with so many dental insurance companies to choose from, it’s easier than ever to shop around, compare prices and find the right coverage that meets your unique needs.

Read on to learn more about what the most popular dental insurance providers have to offer and which companies are some of the top insurance carriers by state.

Getting dental insurance may or may not be worth it for you, so consider your average annual costs at the dentist compared to how much you spend on your insurance premiums.

There’s also what’s called a dental savings plan, which is slightly different than a traditional insurance plan. A dental savings plan involves a year fee of a few hundred dollars and connects you to a network of dentists to receive most general dental services for a lower rate.

Delta Dental Insurance

Delta Dental and its affiliates provide dental insurance plans to nearly 30% of all Americans. The insurer has a reputation built on stability and financial strength, for which it earned an “A” rating from A.M. Best and a “superior” rating from Standard and Poor’s. For cheap dental insurance you can count on, it’s hard to beat Delta Dental’s HMO-like plan. For more extensive coverage, the PPO dental insurance provides favorable terms and a large network of dentists.

Getting a quote is fast and simple. Visit the website and select your state before adding your zip code to see the plans available in your area.

MetLife Dental Insurance

From group plans designed for employers to offer their staff to private dental insurance ideal for individuals in need of coverage, MetLife offers numerous options. Choose from full-coverage dental insurance and cost-effective plans to find the dental insurance that’s ideal for you. Options include:

  • PPO Plans with full-service dental for retirees, indemnity plans and coinsurance and copay plans
  • HMO Plans in California, New Jersey, Texas and Florida, along with managed care plans in New York
  • Extra Add-Ons such as International Dental Travel Assistance and the VisionAccess discount program
  • TakeAlong Dental, an individual program that provides a COBRA alternative and an option for employees not eligible for coverage under a group program

Guardian Dental Insurance

Guardian offers a combination of group dental plans for employers to offer their employees and individual plans in certain states. Plan types range from PPOs to HMOs, with access to a large network of dentists and unique benefits such as the ability to rollover a portion of any unused benefits to use in the future. Preventive Advantage is another program that makes it easier to get preventive services. Guardian offers individual dental insurance plans in numerous states, including:

  • New York
  • Connecticut
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Florida
  • Ohio
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Missouri
  • Louisiana
  • Texas
  • Colorado
  • Utah
  • Arizona
  • California

You can sign up for coverage on the Guardian website or through the dental exchange. Signing up, finding providers, paying your bill and filing your claims is fast and easy, making Guardian an exceptional choice for hassle-free dental insurance.

Aetna Dental Insurance

Aetna offers group dental insurance through employers and also offers plans that you can buy directly from the company in five states, including Pennsylvania, Delaware, Illinois, Arizona and Alaska. To see what’s available, you simply visit the website and click on your state. Aetna’s dental plans provide coverage for the following services:

  • Preventive Care: Cleanings, exams and X-rays
  • Basic Care: Restorative work such as fillings and periodontal maintenance
  • Major Services: Root canals, bridges, dentures and crowns

Aetna also offers a Vital Savings dental discount program in all states except Vermont and Montana. You can buy the discount card online for as little as $7.99 per month to get instant savings of 15% to 50% off.

Cigna Dental Insurance

Cigna offers two types of dental coverage, including individual dental insurance and a dental discount program. You can enroll in the dental insurance along with your medical insurance or purchase it separately. Choose from several plans, including Cigna Dental Preventive, which pays 100% of in-network diagnostic and preventive services with no annual maximum or deductible. Other plans pay up to $1,000 or $1,500 every year with a $50 deductible for individuals and $150 deductible for families. These plans offer excellent coverage, including:

  • Preventive Care
  • Basic Care
  • Major Services

The Cigna dental discount program lets you find a plan that’s suited to your needs. It gives you access to Cigna’s large network of dentists who agree to offer substantial discounts on their services, which saves you 10% to 60%.

Physicians Mutual Dental Insurance

In addition to life insurance, annuities, funeral-planning services and supplemental health insurance, Physicians Mutual provides supplemental dental insurance to individuals and families. What makes this insurance stand out from the rest is the no-network operation. You can use your preferred dentist without risk of penalty. Additionally, there’s no lifetime maximum or annual maximum.

Physicians Mutual dental insurance provides coverage for more than 350 procedures. Benefits vary depending on the type of plan you choose. For example, if you get a routine exam, the economy plan pays $14, the standard plan pays $19 and the preferred plan pays $24.

Humana Dental Insurance

Humana’s dental insurance plans don’t use underwriting, which means that your past dental problems don’t count against you. Humana’s full-coverage dental insurance offers several plans with varying premiums, copays and deductibles.

Like Cigna, Humana also offers a dental discount plan as an insurance alternative. Humana’s Dental Savings Plus allows you to choose any in-network dentist with no annual deductible, no annual benefit maximum, no waiting period, no paperwork and payments made directly to the dentist for the discounted rate.

Blue Cross Dental Insurance

In addition to the dental insurance that Blue Cross provides employers as part of the company’s plans, Blue Cross offers a variety of individual dental plans, both on and off the marketplace. You can choose from pediatric plans and traditional ones, including:

  • Dental Select Basic: No deductible, no program maximum and an office visit copay of $10
  • Healthy Dental PPO Plan: No deductible, with a benefit period program maximum of $50 per member or $150 per family and a waiting period in which you pay 100% after reaching the maximum of $1,000 per member per benefit period

Assurant Dental Insurance

Assurant Dental, which belongs to the Sun Life Financial family, offers individual dental plans for singles, families and retirees. These plans are only available in certain states, including:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Missouri
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Texas

Choose from several individual and family plans. Pay your premium monthly or save approximately $15 by paying it once a year. Assurant Dental’s plans have no deductible, no annual maximum and no claim forms, and the company provides benefits for teeth whitening, bonding, pre-existing conditions and orthodontic procedures.

Costco Dental Insurance

Costco really does sell it all, from food and household goods to low-cost dental insurance. Members in California, Texas, Pennsylvania and Florida have exclusive access to Costco’s Group HMO dental plan for individuals. Costco’s DeltaCare USA plan covers more than 260 services, including teeth whitening and orthodontics. Premiums start at $83.31, and there are no annual maximum or deductibles.

Principal Dental Insurance

Dental insurance from Principal is offered through employers. This company provides several plans, including:

  • Principal Dental PPO: The main plan offered, in which you save the most money for using in-network dentists. You can use your own dentist, too
  • Exclusive Provider Organization: This plan, offered in California, requires you to receive dental care only from in-network dentists
  • Employer-Paid: Employers choose their contribution level to pay up to 100% of the employees’ premiums. The plan covers preventive, basic and major services
  • Voluntary Employee-Paid: Employees who don’t get dental insurance from their employers can opt for a voluntary policy, which extends group rates and flexible benefits

Aflac Dental Insurance

Aflac’s supplemental dental insurance provides benefits for many services, ranging from basic cleaning to orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry. With no medical questions or underwriting hassles, this guaranteed-issue insurance offers convenience along with the freedom of not having to stay within a network. Aflac’s insurance coverage pays benefits directly to policyholders instead of the dentist.

Military Dental Insurance

The military provides dental coverage for active duty military members and optional dental coverage for family members, members of the National Guard or Reserve, retired service members and survivors of military members through the TRICARE dental program, TRICARE Retiree Dental Program or active duty dental benefits. These dental programs generally cover everything from routine exams and cleanings to root canals, oral surgery and orthodontics. Military members also have other options for dental coverage from other insurance carriers, most notably military-only plans from USAA and Delta Dental.

USAA Dental Insurance

USAA offers health and dental insurance through its USAA Health Insurance Marketplace, open only to eligible USAA members. To qualify, you must be one of the following:

  • Active Military: A member of the Air Force, Navy, Army, Coast Guard or Marines
  • Former Military: An individual who separated or retired with an honorable discharge
  • Family: Un-remarried former spouses, widows and widowers of USAA members or children whose parent(s) had or have USAA property or auto insurance
  • Cadets and Midshipmen: Individuals enrolled at U.S. service academies, on ROTC scholarship or in advanced ROTC

Through the marketplace, you can shop for dental plans, many of which are offered through big-name insurers such as Cigna. Before signing up, compare the plans to your TRICARE benefits to make sure you’re not overpaying.

Delta Dental Veterans Affairs Dental Insurance Program

Delta Dental serves as the administrator for the Veterans Affairs Dental Insurance Program (VADIP) and offers three plans: standard, enhanced and comprehensive. The monthly premium and out-of-pocket expenses vary depending on the plan you choose, the type of services you receive and whether you go to an in-network or out-of-network dentist.

Dental Insurance for Seniors

Although Medicare covers many drug costs and health care expenses, dental care remains one of the largest out-of-pocket expenses for seniors. Seniors in need of help paying for their dental care can research services through organizations such as Tooth Wisdom, which provides a list of donated dental services by state, or the Dental Lifeline Network run by the American Dental Association, which provides low- or no-cost dental insurance to elderly and disabled people in need.

AARP Dental Insurance

Delta Dental administers dental insurance plans offered by AARP. Seniors who are active AARP members can get a quote and sign up online for one of two PPO plans offered. Plan A offers the most benefits at a slightly higher premium than Plan B, which has slightly reduced benefits for some basic and preventive services in exchange for lower premiums. Benefits of signing up for AARP’s exclusive coverage include assured acceptance, a large network of dentists, limited out-of-pocket costs and full-coverage dental insurance with no waiting period.

Dental Select

Affordable plans that start at $33 per month make Dental Select an option for seniors looking for a customized dental plan. Optional extras include EyeMed Discount Vision and Connection Hearing Benefits to cover other important areas. Dental Select senior dental plans cover 100% of preventive costs, including two professional cleanings, exams and X-rays every year. Many basic procedures, including fillings and dentures, are also covered.

Is Dental Insurance Worth It?

Dental insurance is a tricky product. It’s a great deal if you need it and if you go to the dentist more frequently than once or twice for cleanings every year. If you don’t use it to the fullest, the cost of the premium may not be worth it. For example, the national average for dental cleaning is approximately $80. Dental insurance policies cost an average of $300 per year. If you only need one or two cleanings, you’re not getting your money’s worth.

Because there’s limited Medicare dental insurance, many seniors benefit from dental plans. Likewise, if you have dental problems, having insurance can be extremely helpful. From root canals to dentures and dental implant insurance, these policies can soften the blow that major dental work strikes to your wallet. Take note of any benefit maximums or annual maximums, which limit the amount of reimbursement you can receive.

How to Get Dental Insurance

Before you sign up, shop around with a few different insurance companies that offer dental insurance plans in your state. Visit their websites to learn more about the insurance that’s available, and compare rates and coverage amounts before signing up. In most cases, you can apply directly through an insurance company’s website or through the federal marketplace.

How Much Is Dental Insurance?

The prices of dental insurance vary, with most policies costing between $150 and $600 in annual premiums. Dental discount programs are another option to help you save money on dental costs, with premiums as low as $7.99 per month.

Dental and Vision Insurance

The cost of dental and vision insurance may not add up for you. If your premiums exceed the amount of money that you save, then you’re better off just paying out of pocket and saving on the extra monthly or annual bill.

Top-Rated Dental Insurance Companies by State

The top dental insurance companies vary from state to state. Many companies, including Cigna and Humana, only operate in select states, while others are available nationwide. Below, you can find a brief list of some of the top-rate dental insurance companies in several populous states.


  • Blue Cross
  • Guardian
  • Humana


  • Argus
  • IHC Group
  • Humana

North Carolina

  • Humana
  • Cigna
  • Nationwide Life Insurance


  • Delta Dental
  • Humana
  • United Healthcare


  • Guardian
  • Humana
  • Aetna

New York

  • Assurant
  • Delta Dental
  • Cigna

New Jersey

  • Delta Dental
  • Horizon Blue Cross
  • Humana


  • Delta Dental
  • Humana
  • Aetna


  • Nationwide Life Insurance
  • Anthem Blue Cross
  • Humana


  • Anthem Blue Cross
  • Humana
  • United Healthcare


  • Delta Dental
  • Humana
  • Blue Cross
Caryn Anderson
Caryn Anderson combines extensive behind-the-scenes writing experience with her passion for all things food, fashion and finance. Anderson honed her craft while earning her B.S in Communication Studies from New York University.

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