Yes, you can get dental insurance benefits for dental implants, but the benefits may be restricted.
Dental insurance started becoming popular in the 1960s as an attractive addition to labor contracts. However, as medical costs have gone up, employers have tried to trim costs on dental benefits packages, and so these packages have become less and less valuable. In the 1960s, the annual benefit would cover quite a bit of work. In the 2000s, a typical plan may cover one crown for a year.
So, we advise you to not think in terms of procedures being “covered” by dental insurance. Instead, think of the plan as helping you pay for various procedures.
Years ago, many plans said that they wouldn’t cover dental implants. But this didn’t mean that there was no benefit for dental implants. Plans state this to limit their liability. The dental plan obligates the insurance company to pay for the replacement of missing teeth—it’s just that their benefit will be based on the cost of the least expensive replacement. What this means is that if, say, you have multiple teeth missing, and a removable partial denture would work for you, the dental insurance benefit for implants will be based on the cost of the removable partial.
Dental implants are becoming the standard of care for the replacement of missing teeth, so recently more plans are “covering” them. But their coverage will be limited by annual expense limitations. By the time you do the surgery for one implant and the crown over the implant, you’ll exceed the annual expense limitations of many plans. But my advice is to not let these insurance plan limitations dictate what you do to take care of yourself. Do what is best for you. The insurance company does what is best for them, and that is to limit their expenses as much as possible.
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This content was written by Dr. David Hall.