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Paying for Dental Care

The good news is that Americans have more choices to help cover the expense of dental services than ever. Though many people with dental benefits get them through their employers, individual plans are also available through the Health Insurance Marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act. It’s important to know all your options when choosing the right dental plan for you and your family.

Massachusetts Dental Insurance Resources

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts offers resources for applying for dental insurance and accessing dental and hygiene clinics that provide reduced-cost oral health care.

Health Connector Marketplace

    The Health Connector is a state-based health insurance marketplace that makes shopping for affordable health and dental coverage easier for Massachusetts individuals, families, and small businesses. It offers plans from the state's leading insurers that have been awarded the state's Seal of Approval, so you can be sure the plan you choose meets both state and national coverage standards.
The Affordable Care Act and Its Impact on Oral Health

What to Consider When Selecting a Dental Plan

Don’t let confusion over dental costs stand in the way of good oral health. Use the resources below from the American Dental Association to learn more about options for covering the expense of dental services:

What’s the Difference Between Dental Benefits and Dental Insurance?

    Contrary to what many people think, dental benefit plans aren’t actually insurance plans. Typical dental benefit plans are not designed to cover all dental procedures, and dental benefits coverage is not based on what you need or what the dentist recommends.
What Does a Dental Plan Cover?
    Even for covered services, most dental plans share the costs of treatment with you. If you have benefits through work, the amount the plan covers is determined by how much your employer pays into the plan. If you have an individual plan, the terms will be spelled out in a contract. Although you may be tempted to make dental care decisions based on what your plan will pay, the least expensive option is not always the healthiest option. Before committing to a plan, make sure you understand how you and your plan share costs. 
    Under in-office or dental membership plans, the patient pays the doctor or dental office a fixed amount of money on a monthly or annual basis. In return, the patient generally receives preventive services at no charge, with other procedures offered at a discounted fee.
Questions to Ask When Choosing a Plan                 
    You know you want dental coverage, but it can be hard to figure out which types of coverage you’ll need. These questions can help you narrow down your needs and find the right plan for you.     
Common Dental Benefit Terms                 
    Finding the right dental coverage can sometimes feel like you’re piecing together an elaborate puzzle, and the most important pieces of the big picture are often found in the terms used to outline a plan’s features.         
Common Dental Treatment Terms                     
    When it comes to dental treatments, it might sometimes sound like your dental benefit plan is speaking a different language. If your dentist mentions these terms, you can ask questions, but your dental plan documents may not give you the answers you need immediately. This guide outlines terms frequently used in dental benefit plans and the more common terms most non-dentists use when talking about them.

Do I Need a Dental Plan?

For some people, mainly those who need very little dental treatment, buying dental benefits may cost more in the long run than paying a dentist’s office directly.

Do I Really Need a Dental Plan?

If you typically only need regular cleanings and no other procedures, it may cost less for you to pay for those cleanings on your own without paying the premiums for a dental benefits plan. Talk to your dentist about your dental history and possible care needs before making your decision.

No Dental Benefits at Work? Seven Places to Look for Dental Care

Not all employers offer dental benefits. If you’re struggling to find affordable dental care, here are some places to start.