Best Dental Insurance for Vets?

What are the Best Dental Insurance Options for Vets?

As a patient of the VA for almost a decade now, I know the frustration of my fellow brothers and sisters’ access to good dental insurance. Fortunately, I was able to get on my wife’s insurance, which is Delta Dental. There are enough decent options out there for us that can give us access to excellent dentists. I’m going to walk you through every step of Delta Dental and other competitors to provide you with all the info you need to make the best decision for you.

How do I know if I Qualify for VA Dental Insurance?

You’ll know for sure if you qualify for VA dental insurance by clicking on this link and reading through your exact situation. Read carefully through each bullet list, and you’ll know what kind of benefits you qualify for. If you qualify for any benefits, than move to applying for those benefits.

How Do I apply for VA Dental Insurance (VA Form 10-10EZ)?

Once you know what benefits you qualify for, its time to fill out the VA Form 10-10EZ to claim those benefits. Once you click on the link provided, you’ll just need to follow the instructions on how to apply, and you’ll be granted your benefits in a couple months or so.

Why is it essential to apply for VA dental insurance?

If you’re a patient of the VA, you are entitled to benefits that 99% of our population are not eligible for. Even if you do not use the VA as your primary care, you should apply to the benefits so you can work on the VA paying your bills. If you’re qualified, you should give them a chance, so you can save potentially thousands of dollars.

Why Would I not want to go to the VA?

As Veterans, we all know very well how we are often treated at the VA, from unacceptable wait times to lackluster professional care. I could write a dissertation on how messed up the VA is, but it’s important we give you all the info. needed. Personally, I won’t go to VA dental offices because the wait times to get in are starting to exceed 4-6 months. If you’re one of those people who need care sooner than that, you could always apply to the Choice Program.

What is the Veterans Choice Program?

Let’s say you’re a disabled veteran who was chewing steak and chipped your tooth on a bone. If the dentist can’t get you for 6 months, that doesn’t help you at all. The Veterans Choice Program is designed to get you that expedited care when the VA can’t provide that care promptly. The Choice Program is something I have used for two surgeries and a food poising scare that left me in the hospital for a couple days. Let’s break down the qualifications so you have an idea of when you can invoke this right you have as a VA patient. If any of these situations apply to you, you can apply to the Veteran’s Choice Program.

 

Qualifying Factors
You are told by your local VA medical facility that you will need to wait more than 30 days for an appointment.

 

You are told by your local VA medical facility that you will need to wait more than 30 days for an appointment.

 

You need to travel by air, boat, or ferry to the VA medical facility closet to your house.

 

You face an unusual or excessive burden in traveling to the closest VA medical facility based on a geographic challenge, environmental factor, medical condition, or other specific clinical decisions. Staff at your local VA medical facility will work with you to determine if you are eligible for any of these reasons.

 

You reside in a State or the United States Territory without a full-service VA medical facility that provides hospital care, emergency services, and surgical care, and reside more than 20 miles from such a VA medical facility. Note: This criterion applies to Veterans residing in Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Guam, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Also, note that some Veterans in New Hampshire reside within 20 miles of White River Junction VAMC and are therefore not eligible for the Veterans Choice Program.

 

 

What is Wrong With the Choice Program?

I will be honest with you, VA dental insurance is atrocious because of the wait times, rushed care, and the VA’s lack of empathy. Even with the Choice Program, many civilian doctors don’t get paid by the VA for years after the service was provided. My dentist told me he has been waiting on the VA to pay him hundreds of thousands of dollars for over a year after seeing a few dozen veterans for care. I bring this critical piece of info up because many doctors around the country are starting to have to refuse taking veterans due to the fear of losing money. This is why it’s so important to get private insurance, so you don’t have to wait exceedingly long and worry about not getting to the best doctors due to the VA’s lack of accountability.

What is VGLI?

Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) is something to consider when getting out of the military, and you have no insurance plan through your next employer. If you were discharged from active duty military under honorable or general conditions.  If you’re still not sure about life insurance and want to know more, you could always read this great blog for your insurance needs.

What are the 3 Best Dental Insurances for Veterans?

There are several services that you could go with, but the biggest and most popular service is Delta Dental. Humana is a great option as well for families that are more on a budget and don’t have major dental surgery needs. United HealthCare is another insurance company that offers excellent programs for families and individuals.

Delta Dental Insurance

Delta offers 5 different distinct dental packages that cover everything from the basics to anything you could ever have done on your mouth in regards to surgeries or procedures. I currently have the Delta PPO option, and I have never felt more at ease with my dental needs. I pay a $25 copay if I need X-Rays or imaging done, but other than that or surgery, I don’t pay anything upfront. Insurance takes care of all my cleanings and check-ups without any trouble.

Delta Dental Preferred-Provider Option (PPO)

This option provides dental services at a cheaper rate than the Premium packages and has little to no out of pocket costs. This option is great for someone on a budget and someone who has relatively good oral hygiene. If you’re only going to the dentist once or twice a year for cleanings and checkups, this is the perfect option for you.

Delta Dental Premier

The Delta Dental Premier option provides the largest number of networks of any other option, which gives tremendous flexibility to choose dentists. There is no way to be 100% sure if your dental program is going to be accepted or not, but this is the most widely accepted insurance program in the country.  This is a great plan for those who live in rural communities where there are fewer dentists in your area.

What is the Difference Between Delta Dental PPO and Premier?

The biggest differences between the PPO and Premier are the cost, type of plan, and the size of the network. The Premier is going to cost much more per month than the PPO option, but you’re going to get 100% coverage from any dentist in the country with the Premier option. All costs are based on monthly payments.

Premier Membership
What’s the Difference? Option 1 Option 2
Single $58.38 $46.90
Single +1 110.03 $88.41
Family $187.50 $150.63
Annual Maximum Benefit $1,000 $1,000

 

Delta PPO
What’s the Difference? Option 1 Option 2
Single $16.50 $14.00
Single +1 $32.47 $28.00
Family $57.39 $48.00
Annual Maximum Benefit $1,000 $1,000

 

Which Plan is the best from Delta Dental?

To figure out the best plan, you’ll need to look at the costs and the needs of you and/or your family first. If you’re short on money, the PPO is going to be the best option for you because you’ll get the basic coverage for check-ups and yearly cleanings. You’ll have access to most dentists in your community and will pay minimal out-of-pocket costs. I recommend the Premier account if you’re going to go with Delta because it will include every licensed dentist in the country and covers more things, such as crowns, cavities, and major surgeries.

What are the Problems with Delta Dental?

The problems with having Delta Dental mostly involve the price and the type of care paid for by the insurance. For example, if you were to need major oral surgery or needed crowns, bridges, and cavities filled, you’ll only be covered for the first $1,000. Any of these procedures will cost over $500 each, so you’ll end up paying for most of everything out of pocket. The real unfortunate thing here is that every insurance company that I’ve researched has a cap of $1,000 per year for care provided.

Humana Dental Insurance

Humana dental insurance is one of the best and largest insurance companies in our country, and they even cater plans to senior citizens and Veterans. The dental insurance is going to about $10 more on average per month, and you’ll get up to $1,000 of care annually before you have to pay out of pocket. The network size for Humana is not as big as Delta, but they do have a great plan for Veterans that I want to highlight here.

Preventative Plus Package for Veterans

This package is a great plan for Veterans who are relatively healthy and don’t need too much work done besides cleaning and x-rays. You’ll have your teeth cleaned twice a year, x-rays once a year, and full dental exams twice a year for the low price of $23.24 per month. You’ll have zero wait times, and for the services I listed above and only pay a $50 deductible for yourself or $150 for your family.

 

Humana Dental Insurance Preventive Plus Package for Veterans Dental Loyalty Plus PPO Dental Savings Plus
Monthly Cost $23.24 $34.99 $6.99
Deductible $50 Individual/ $150 Family $150 Individual/ $450 Family 0
Annual Maximum Benefit $1,000 $1,000/$1,200/$1,500

(year 1/2/3)

No annual max

 

Why is Humana a Great Option for Vets?

The Preventive Plus package for Veterans is a great chance at getting your family taken care of to the best of your ability. As many negative things I have to say about the VA, it’s difficult to argue against something free of charge (depending on your disability rating). However, if you don’t have insurance and don’t want to pay for it, you could always go to the VA and follow the instructions above. My recommendation would be to order this plan for Veterans and take advantage of the premiums for your family and do your care at the VA. This option allows you to take care of your family and at the same time, keep yours out of pocket costs low.

What is the Dental Savings Plan by Humana?

The Dental Savings Plan sounds incredible with no deductible, $7 per month, and no annual max, but it can be very deceiving. This is NOT an actual insurance policy and is specifically designed to save you a little money per procedure done. Think of it as a coupon on your dental needs because it is only going to take a small portion of your bill. For example, cleaning normally costs about $100 if you don’t have insurance. With this savings plan, you’ll save about $14 of that $100, which is something, but it’s not going to help you or your family very much at all.

Best Humana Plan: Dental Loyalty Plus

The Loyalty Plus plan is better than the Veteran specific program because it offers more flexibility within your family and only gets better year after year. The deductible is a one-time payment for the life of the plan, so that means if you have this plan for a decade, you’ll only pay the one deductible for the rest of your life. The yearly maximum also increases for the first 3 years and maxes out at $1,500 per year (per person). You’ll never have to wait more than a few days to get any care you could need versus the 6 months wait time for the Veteran program.

Cigna Dental Insurance

Cigna Dental Insurance offers 3 separate plans similar to Humana and Delta Dental except with better deductibles and the added benefit of Orthodontics treatments. Cigna is a great alternative if you live in a city where there are many different options for family dentists and Orthodontists.

Cigna Dental 1500

Cigna Dental 1500 is the most expensive and expansive plan that Cigna offers, covering everything from cleanings to braces. Buying this program will give you access to a one-time $1,000 deduction for braces or work associated with braces. This might not sound like a lot, but getting $1,000 off for your child’s braces is a great deal, considering that no other company offers this deal. You also will only pay an annual deductible, instead of one for each visit.

 

Cigna Dental 1500 Plan
Deductible $50 (waived if just cleaning and exams)
Monthly Payments $35
Orthodontia $50 deductible/$1,000 lifetime benefit
Annual Maximum Benefit $1,500

 

Why you should Buy Cigna 1500 Insurance

Cigna Insurance offers the best deductibles and offers exclusive orthodontics assistance with the 1500 plan. I love the fact that all deductibles are annual, so you don’t have to worry about paying each time your family goes to the dentist. This will undoubtedly save you money if you have a bigger family in the long run. Cigna also offers a better annual maximum of $500 more than the competition, which could be the difference between paying for surgery or letting the insurance take the bill.

Cigna Dental 1000 Plan

The 2nd dental plan Cigna offers is very similar but covers $1,000 maximum per year versus the $1,500 that the top plan offers. The 1000 plan does not cover any orthodontics either and has increased wait times for major procedures. You’ll still get all of your exams, cleanings, and x-rays included, 100%, but you won’t get the added benefits of the 1500 plan.

 

Cigna Dental 1000 Plan
Deductible $50 (waived if just cleaning and exams)
Monthly Payments $30
Orthodontia $50 deductible/$1,000 lifetime benefit
Annual Maximum Benefit $1,000

 

Why You Should Buy Cigna 1000 Plan

If your family doesn’t have any orthodontic needs and are relatively healthy, except for a cavity or two, this is an excellent option for you. If you only need cleaning, x-rays, and exams, you won’t even pay a deductible. You’ll still have access to a vast network of dentists that provide the care you’ll need without paying a higher premium.

Conclusion

There are many options for dental insurance to buy, however, Humana, Delta, and Cigna offer the best options to cover your family. The biggest network is provided by Delta Dental with the lowest premiums and co-pays on the market today. Humana is the only company that offers an exclusive program for Veterans and their families, but their Loyalty Plus PPO is better. Cigna is another alternative and provides the same exceptional care with the added benefit of covering orthodontics for the 1500 Plan. Regardless of what program you choose, think about the needs of your family and yourself as it will help you make the best decision on what you need most.

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