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What Is a Supplemental Dental Plan?

A woman having a dental exam.
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  • Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 19 March 2014
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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.

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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.

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