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Dental Insurance for Self-Employed Individuals

Dental insurance can be an excellent way to help you maintain good oral health while saving money. It covers a range of services and incentivizes you to visit your dentist regularly. Self-employed people can also get dental coverage, but may face unique circumstances requiring extra consideration. This article will explain how dental insurance works for self-employed individuals and cover a few plans available to help you pick the best option for you and your loved ones.

What is dental insurance for self-employed individuals? 

Dental insurance is a form of supplemental health insurance that helps self-employed people cover dental care costs. This policy can cover a variety of treatments, from routine cleaning to oral surgery. Self-employed people can seek coverage through a workplace plan if available through an employer or spouse. However, many purchase these policies independently.

How to get dental insurance if you’re self-employed 

Self-employed people have two options for getting dental coverage:

Get dental coverage through your existing health insurance plan 

Some traditional health insurance plans let you add dental coverage to the policy. Insurers often provide bundle savings if you bundle policies like this. Plus, you can streamline your policy management by working with one insurer for both policies.

Purchase an individual dental insurance plan 

If your current policy doesn’t let you add dental insurance or the policy doesn’t offer the coverage you need, you can purchase an individual plan from another insurer, such as Aflac. Individual dental plans vary in coverage, premiums, exclusions, and other features. Compare quotes and coverage to find a policy that suits your needs.

Types of dental insurance for the self-employed

Self-employed people can choose from several types of dental insurance plans, each offering benefits and considerations:

DHMO insurance plan1

A Dental Health Maintenance Organization plan, or DHMO, requires choosing a primary care dentist to coordinate care. Under these plans, you must obtain a referral from your primary care provider to see specialists. Out-of-network providers are rarely covered, meaning you will likely have to pay full price if your provider isn’t in the network. However, DHMO plans tend to have lower premiums and no deductibles. When you seek treatment, you’ll likely pay coinsurance and copays.

DPPO insurance plan1

A Dental Preferred Provider Organization plan, or DPPO, charges higher premiums than DHMO plans. Plus, you may have to meet a deductible before coverage kicks in, and annual maximums can limit your yearly coverage. However, DPPO networks tend to be broader, and you don’t need referrals from your primary care dentist to visit specialists. DPPO plans may offer partial coverage for out-of-network providers, too. Overall, these plans provide more flexibility than others in exchange for higher costs.

Dental discount plan2

Dental discount plans are technically not insurance policies. Instead, they are typically membership programs that offer discounts on various dental procedures. To stay in the plan, you can pay a simple annual fee. In exchange, you can receive a card that grants you lower rates on covered services.

Dental discount plans don’t often offer significant coverage on some basic and major services, but the annual fee is quite low. Therefore, these could be helpful if you only need preventative care and want to minimize costs.

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What to consider when choosing a dental insurance plan

Choosing the right plan is particularly important for self-employed individuals, given the potential for unsteady income. Consider the following factors when shopping for coverage:

  • Network size and flexibility: It’s important to consider whether you want flexibility and a larger network, which offers more covered choices. A DPPO plan may offer partial coverage for outside providers, which can help under certain circumstances.

  • Affordability: Evaluate each plan’s premiums, deductibles, copays, and coinsurance rates. Weigh these costs against your expected dental care needs to see if you might save more than you spend on plan costs.

  • Coverage amounts: Look over which procedures are covered and how much coverage each receives. Lower-priced plans may offer less coverage on basic and major services.

  • Annual maximums: An annual maximum represents the maximum coverage an insurer will provide each year for all treatments. Check the annual maximums of different plans to see if they’re high enough to cover your needs.

  • Waiting periods: Some plans may require waiting periods before certain treatments are covered. Usually, this is for basic and major services. Make sure you get coverage far enough ahead of time for the waiting period to end before you need a procedure covered.

Is dental insurance worth it? 

Dental insurance can be worth purchasing for self-employed people in several circumstances:

If you have children 

Children face unique dental issues and helping them maintain good oral health as they grow can set them up for a lifetime of strong dental health. Dental insurance can help you cover the costs of their routine care and any treatments they may need, such as tooth extractions or fillings.

If you or loved ones have oral health issues 

Dental procedures beyond routine care can have significant costs. For example, a single composite resin filling, which is a lower-cost cavity filling material, can cost $100 to $400 per tooth.3  Meanwhile, policyholders typically spend $20 to $50 per month on dental insurance before any copayments and similar costs.4 As a result, dental insurance can significantly bring down the costs of care for loved ones with oral health issues. 

If you want added peace of mind

No one knows what the future holds. Even if you and your loved ones have perfect dental health, your situation could change. Dental insurance can offer a layer of financial protection, giving you added peace of mind that you can get affordable coverage if problems suddenly appear. Plus, it encourages you to visit your dentist regularly. The dentist can look for early signs of these problems and treat them while it’s easier and less expensive to do so.

Get a quote for Aflac dental insurance 

Dental insurance can help provide significant peace of mind and protection to the self-employed and their loved ones. This type of policy is typically affordable, making it easy to fit into circumstances where your income may fluctuate. Whether you need to cover your children, reduce the costs of frequent treatment, or just want added peace of mind, Aflac offers excellent dental insurance for the self-employed. Speak with an agent today to learn more about coverage and get a quote.

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