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What is a Supplemental Dental Plan?

Diane Goettel
Updated Feb 29, 2024
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A supplemental dental plan is a kind of insurance that may be purchased in combination with or in addition to a health insurance plan that offers inadequate or no coverage for dental care. This kind of plan may be purchased by an individual in addition to a policy that he currently holds on his own or in addition to a policy that he has obtained through his employer. Just as with the cost of health care, the cost of dental care can often be prohibitively expensive if it is not offset by a dental plan. This is one of the main reasons a person might take out a supplemental dental plan.

The price of a supplemental dental plan will depend on a variety of factors. The number of people covered by the plan is one of the most important factors. If a family of four takes out a supplemental dental plan, they are likely to pay less than a family of seven, but considerably more an an individual. The type of coverage offered by the supplemental dental plan will also define its price. The greater the amount of coverage, the more expensive the plan is likely to be.

There are some cases in which an employer will purchase a supplemental dental plan on behalf of its employees. In the simplest terms, this means that the company pays for both primary health insurance policies and supplemental dental policies for all of its eligible employees who choose to take advantage of these benefits. There are sometimes employees who do not take advantage of these benefits because they receive health and dental coverage from another source, such as through their spouses' employers. There are other cases in which companies only cover a primary health insurance plan and their employees must purchase a supplemental dental plan if they require one.

Depending on the needs of an individual or a company that plans to offer a supplemental dental plan to its employees, the plan may not be purchased from the insurer that offers the primary policy. One may choose to purchase a primary health insurance policy from one company and a supplemental dental plan from a separate company. When shopping for a supplemental dental plan, it often pays to shop around instead of simply working with the insurer that holds one's primary policy.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diane Goettel
By Diane Goettel , Former Writer
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount Vernon, New York with her husband, Noah. They are the proud parents of a Doberman Pinscher named Spoon. Specialties: book editing, book marketing, book publishing, freelance writing, magazine publishing, magazine writing, copywriting,"

Discussion Comments

By Talentryto — On Jul 16, 2014

@raynbow- I can understand how you could feel that spending money on a dental plan may seem like a waste of money, especially if you only use your plan for basic dental care. However, it is very likely that at some point, you will need more costly care such as root canal or crown. This is when having a dental insurance plan can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Many dental insurance plans cover preventative dental care such as x rays and cleanings. This allows patients to save on basic care. However, when costly care is needed, this is when having dental insurance is vital. For example, a root canal and a crown may cost as much as $1,000 to $2,000 or more. Many dental plans pay a good portion of these types of bills, saving a patient a lot of money.

By Raynbow — On Jul 15, 2014

Is having a supplemental dental plan really worth the money? It seems like there are a lot of discount dental offices that don't charge too much for cleanings, x rays, and fillings. With access to this type of dental care, it seems like having a dental plan may be a waste of money.

Diane Goettel

Diane Goettel

Former Writer

"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount...
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