Children start growing teeth around 6-months of age and unfortunately, cavities can develop quickly even in children as young as 1-year old. This is why it’s a good idea to invest in dental insurance as early as possible. Regular check-ups and routine cleanings can help ensure your child’s oral health is on the right track.
Unfortunately, many children don’t receive dental care because the cost of treatment can be high. But maintaining their oral health and treating cavities promptly is so important as it can help prevent infections and damage to their permanent teeth. Luckily, dental insurance can help offset the out-of-pocket costs to ensure you can afford the treatment your child needs. But with so many insurance companies available, choosing one can be a challenge. To help, here are the best dental insurance options for children.
Best for Budget: Guardian Direct
Families on a budget should consider a dental insurance plan from Guardian Direct. Guardian Direct offers an extensive range of coverage options that cater to preventive and major dental care services. For instance, if you require basic coverage for routine checkups and cleanings, Guardian Direct Starter is a cost-effective option starting at just $20 USD per month.
While more comprehensive coverage will come at a higher premium, higher-tier plans typically offer lower out-of-pocket expenses. Regardless of the plan you select, Guardian Direct ensures quality coverage that is tailored to meet the unique dental needs of your family.
Best for Plan Options: United Healthcare
United Healthcare is a major provider of health insurance, but did you know that they also offer an array of dental plans? That’s right, in addition to their popular health insurance options, United Healthcare provides several dental coverage options that are designed to meet a range of needs and budgets. Their dental plans are also stand-alone coverage, which means you don’t need a major medical plan to purchase a dental plan.
United Healthcare’s dental plans typically provide coverage for a wide range of preventive and basic dental services, such as regular exams, cleanings, fillings, and extractions. Additionally, many of their plans offer coverage for more extensive dental procedures, such as root canals, crowns, and orthodontic treatment. You’ll also enjoy that there is no waiting period for preventive care.
It’s also worth noting that United Healthcare has an extensive network of dentists, including pediatric specialists. This means that you and your family will have access to a broad range of qualified dental professionals, so you can find the right provider to meet your needs.
Best for Increased Coverage Over Time: Humana
Families looking to enroll their children at a young age should consider Humana. Humana offers several dental insurance plans for families, with options for both PPO and DHMO plans.
One plan you should consider is the Humana Loyalty Plus dental plan, which is designed to reward you for your loyalty. With this dental plan, you can see any dentist you want and your benefits increase over time. For example, in the first year, the plan allows a maximum of $1,000 per individual but that limit rises to $1,500 per person by year 3. As your children grow and require more dental services, you can rest assured that your insurance plan will provide higher limits to cover these expenses.
Best for Veterans and Their Families: MetLife
When it comes to dental insurance, finding an affordable family plan that offers comprehensive coverage can be a challenge. However, MetLife offers family plans that are not only affordable but also come with a low family deductible.
MetLife’s family plans also come with a broad network of dental providers. This means that you and your family will have access to a wide range of qualified dental professionals who can provide the care you need, where and when you need it. While you can choose to visit out-of-network providers and still receive coverage, in-network providers will be cheaper. Most cleanings and exams are covered 100-percent, and you can take advantage of their negotiated fees, typically 30- to 45-percent less than average.
Another major perk of MetLife is that they offer a variety of plans to choose from, including a plan that is designed for veterans and their families. The Veteran Plus Family Dental Insurance Program offers two plan options, including Standard and High to ensure you can find a plan that fits both your preferences and needs, as well as your budget.
Best Overall: Delta Dental
There are many dental insurance options available for families in the United States, and the best choice will depend on each family’s unique needs and circumstances. However, one highly-rated dental insurance provider for families is Delta Dental.
Delta Dental is the largest dental insurance provider in the United States, with a vast network of dentists and specialists across the country. The company offers a variety of family plans that cover preventive care, basic procedures like fillings and extractions, and major services like root canals and orthodontic treatment. Though most preventative services (such as exams and x-rays) are covered from day one, depending on your plan there may be a waiting period for some services like fillings and crowns. Additionally, Delta Dental plans often offer lower out-of-pocket costs for services and treatments received from in-network providers.
What to Look For in Dental Coverage
When comparing dental plans, it’s important to note that coverage can vary significantly. Take the time to review what each plan does and does not cover. You’ll also want to consider your children’s ages and their anticipated needs over the next year. Delta Dental says, ideally, you’ll want to select a plan that covers the majority or all of the cost of preventive care, such as exams, cleanings, and X-rays, as well as basic care, such as fillings and tooth extractions. While most plans cover fluoride treatments and dental sealants for cavity prevention in children, double-check to ensure that these services are included.
It’s also important to factor in all potential costs, including deductibles, out-of-pocket limits, and coinsurance or copayments, which represent the percentage or share of a procedure that you are responsible for paying. Additionally, be sure to choose a dental insurer with a broad network of dentists, including pediatric dentists and specialists. Finally, you should also be preparing for the future. Your child may need orthodontic treatment in the future, so you may want to look for a plan that offers major dental work and orthodontic procedures.
Affordable Options for Low-Income Families
Some people can’t even afford dental insurance, and you should know you still have options. Medicaid and The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides free or low-cost health coverage for low-income people, families, and children, as well as pregnant women, seniors, and people with disabilities.
The other good news is there is no open enrollment period, which means you can apply for Medicaid and CHIP any time of year. Additionally, if you qualify, your coverage can start immediately.