Dental Implant Insurance vs. Dental Plans – Which is Best?

Last Updated on:

Dental implants are the best and most long-lasting way to restore missing teeth in most cases, but treatment costs are significantly high than traditional methods of tooth replacement such as dental bridges or dentures. Unfortunately, these high prices prevent many people from accessing their long-term health benefits.

Thankfully, becoming a member of a dental plan is one of the ways you can make dental implants more affordable. Is a dental plan right for you? Let’s find out…

In This Guide

Does Insurance Cover the Cost of Dental Implants?

Most dental insurance plans will not cover the cost of dental implants at this time as most companies consider them to be a cosmetic procedure. Thankfully, insurance companies are beginning to recognize the long-term health benefits of dental implants compared to other treatment options and some have started providing limited coverage.

That said, it is unlikely that your dental insurance will pay for the cost of surgically inserting the implants but you may be able to claim for the cost of the crown. Some insurance companies will provide an allowance which is equivalent to the cost of a traditional bridge or denture.

If you are missing most or all of your natural teeth, the best type of coverage you may be able to get is through medical insurance. In these cases, dental implants are considered essential in order to reconstruct your jaw and restore normal chewing and biting functions. You might find your medical insurance covers all or part of this treatment but there is no guarantee they will take this view.

Dental Discount Plans vs. Insurance

Dental insurance or dental discount plans can help take the sting out of a large dental bill.

Dental insurance customers will generally pay a monthly premium in addition to a deductible before the insurance is applicable. Co-pay requirements can vary considerably between policies. Some require consumers to pay a substantial percentage, while others may have no co-pay requirements at all.

Insurance plans usually come with a cap and consumers are generally insured for between $1,200 and $1,500 per year. Insurance will not cover any expenses exceeding this amount and there is usually a waiting period before you can submit a claim. Certain plans do not have any waiting period for procedures, but you still need to read the fine print carefully to decide if the coverage offered is actually beneficial.

Dental discount plans are not dental insurance – they are similar to a club membership. You’ll generally have to pay an enrolment fee as well as an annual fee of between $80 and $180 for an individual membership. This fee entitles you to discounts on certain services from providers who are associated with that particular plan. These discounts can range from 10% to 60% off.

There are no deductibles or caps, most plans will activate within three business days and consumers aren’t limited to a certain number of services per year. The process is very straightforward and there is no paperwork to fill out for reimbursements.

Dental plans are worth investigating as they can cover cosmetic dentistry procedures that are not typically covered by traditional insurance. It’s possible to find better discounts on dental implant related procedures than can be acquired through traditional insurance.

What Companies Offer Dental Plans and How Much do They Cost?

You should investigate dental discount plans extremely carefully. As a rule of thumb, cheaper plans usually offer very little savings whereas the higher price plans cover a wider range of treatments and offer better savings on certain procedures. That said, you should read the fine print to find out which treatments are covered and exactly how much you can expect to save on each.

Here is a brief overview of some of the most popular plans:

Alliance HealthCard

ThisAlliance Healthcard plan costs $144.95 per year for individuals and $199.95 for families. Sample savings average from 49% for a root canal on a molar and a routine check-up offers savings of 56%, while a cleaning is discounted by 45% for adults and 47% for children. This card covers orthodontics and also comes with a range of other discounts on prescriptions, vision and hearing care and diabetes supplies.

Example savings for implants:
Full Mouth X-Rays – save $71 (49% off)
Single Crown – Porcelain on High Noble Metal – save $671 (55% off)
Single Tooth Removal – Simple Extraction – save $129 (65% off)

Careington Care 500

ThisCareington Care 500 plan costs $139.95 for individuals and $189.95 for families. Sample savings range from 52% for a root canal on a molar, 68% on a routine check-up, 60% on adult teeth cleanings, 52% for child teeth cleanings and a root canal on a molar is discounted by 52%. This membership covers cosmetic dentistry procedures such as veneers and orthodontics for adults and children.

Check out this interview we did with Frank, who saved $3300 on his 4 extractions and 2 implants thanks to the Careington Care 500 plan.

Example savings for implants:
D6050 – Surgical Placement: Transosteal Implant – save $1143 (20% off)
D6065 – Implant Supported Porcelain/Ceramic Crown – save $327 (20% off)

More can be found here: 

Aetna Vital Savings

IndividualVital Savings by Aetna memberships cost $134.95 and a family membership is $179.95 a year. You will save 58% on a routine check-up and 48% on adult teeth cleaning. The percentage offered for a child’s teeth cleaning is slightly higher at 53%. A root canal on a molar has a discount of 46%. This membership also covers orthodontics and members can save on specialty care such as periodontics and on prescription drugs.

Example savings for implants:
Single Crown – Porcelain on High Noble Metal – save $408 (33% off)
Single Tooth Removal – Simple Extraction – save $104 (53% off)

CignaPlus Savings

IndividualCigna membership costs $139.95 and a family membership is $189.95 a year. A routine check-up is discounted by 56% while an adult tooth cleaning is discounted by 45%. You can save 47% on a kid’s tooth cleaning and 49% on a root canal treatment for a molar. This membership includes orthodontics as well as discounts on a range of health and fitness services and vision and hearing care.

Example savings for implants:
Single Crown – Porcelain on High Noble Metal – save $671 (55% off)
Single Tooth Removal – Simple Extraction – save $129 (65% off)

All the treatments mentioned above are a small selection of those covered by these plans. Contact the companies directly to ask about specific procedures and savings in your area.

For reference, see the list of ADA insurance codes here.

How to Choose the Best Plan

Before you begin, check out this list of dental codes so you understand what is being offered when checking prices. Use comparison shopping sites to find the average prices of dental procedures in your area.

Bear in mind your choice of dentist may be restricted by the plan you choose, so if you want to stay with your current dentist then ask them which plans (if any) they are a part of. Also take into consideration whether the discounts offered will be useful to you either now or in the near future. Make a list of treatments you are most likely to use to help you decide on the best plan.

Leave a Comment