Waiting periods for dental insurance refer to the time between purchasing a plan and when you can actually take advantage of certain benefits. While many of us would just assume all benefits would be available immediately, waiting periods are used by dental insurance companies to protect themselves from individuals who only buy coverage because they are faced with an expensive dental procedure. Dental insurance plans with no waiting periods were abused in the past by people who only enrolled in the service to get immediate discounts for treatments.
Dental insurance generally will not require a waiting period for preventive and basic procedures. So if you want to get help for routine preventive maintenance, enrolling in a dental insurance policy is a good move. Waiting periods often apply only to advanced treatments and major services.
Waiting periods are beneficial for both policy holders and the dental insurance company. On the company side it protects them from abuse. From the customer's point of view waiting periods can actually promote dental health by offering preventive and basic treatments, thereby emphasizing the importance of maintaining proper oral health in the first place.
Diagnostic and preventive procedures
Enrolling in a dental insurance plan does not only save you hundreds of dollars in dental procedures but it also helps promotes proper dental health. Diagnostic and preventive procedures have the highest percentage of coverage at around 70 to 80 percent and do not require any waiting periods. These are routine dental checkups and maintenance to prevent the onset of dental diseases.
Plan holders immediately enjoy the benefits of lower or free dental treatment costs upon activation of their dental insurance.
Basic procedures include extractions, periodontal treatment, root canal (sometimes), and fillings. Some plans also offer no waiting periods for these treatments as well. The amount of reimbursement for basic procedures is also lower compared to diagnostic and preventive treatments.
Major services require waiting periods before policy holders are able to enjoy benefits. This is to discourage people from abusing dental coverage, i.e. just enrolling in the plan for one off oral surgery and cancelling. Some procedures classified as major include:
Coverage percentages for major services is also significantly lower compared to preventive and basic treatments.