Dental Insurance

Getting Low-Cost Dental Insurance as a Self-Employed Individual

Updated on February 18, 2020


Under the Affordable Care Act you are not required to have dental insurance, but there might be benefits to being covered. Let’s see how being covered might be right for you, and how you can find low-cost dental insurance that suits your needs.

Two ways to get low-cost dental insurance

As a self-employed individual, you might need to look for your own dental coverage instead of getting coverage from an employer. There are two ways in which you can purchase dental insurance.

Low-cost dental insurance with your health insurance plan: You can often buy health insurance that includes dental, and you will have one monthly premium for both. Depending on the plan’s costs and coverage details, this insurance package might give you low-cost dental insurance.

Low-cost dental insurance bought independently: You can also purchase dental separately from your health insurance. This would mean having a stand-alone dental plan with a premium that is paid separately from your health premium.

Either way of purchasing dental care can give you options for low-cost dental insurance. You will have to compare different plans to see what’s most convenient and gets you the low-cost dental insurance that works best for you.

How can I get low-cost dental insurance?

Much like with health insurance, different dental plans will have different costs, and it’s always important to consider your needs. You might have to do some planning to figure out how to find low-cost dental insurance that works for you. Here are three ways to evaluate dental insurance needs:

  1. How much dental care do you plan on using? Think about your history of dental services – do you need fillings, crowns, root canals, or other services fairly often? Then a plan with a high premium, but lower deductible and cost-sharing, might actually end up being the low-cost dental insurance option for you. This way, you may be able to avoid paying high copayments for procedures that are not fully covered by your insurance.

If you plan on only needing preventative services, which may be covered in full, then a low-cost dental insurance plan with a low deductible might be best for you. In many cases, these preventative services might include:

  • Examinations
  • X-rays
  • Teeth cleaning
  • Fluoride treatment
  • Sealants (for ages 0-18)
  1. Do you already have a dentist? If you already have a dentist who you want to continue using, you’ll have to consider that while picking low-cost dental insurance. Talk with your dentist and see if he or she is in the network of the low-cost dental insurance you want to buy. If not, you might have to look for a plan that allows you to go out-of-network, which might affect costs.
  2. Are you mostly interested in cosmetic procedures such as braces or teeth whitening? If you are looking for a low-cost dental plan in order to cover a cosmetic procedure, it might be hard to find. Cosmetic procedures are usually not covered by insurance, and if they are, the plan itself will likely not be a low cost dental plan.

There is no universal answer as to whether or not you should buy dental insurance—all you can do is decide what will be the best low-cost dental insurance for you. You can also read about the pros and cons of being covered, and whether or not dental insurance is worth the cost.

Low-cost dental insurance might bring tax incentives for self-employed individual

Being self-employed has its tax benefits, and some of them apply to getting dental insurance. Opportunities for tax breaks might allow you to buy a great low-cost dental plan, and keep costs down even more by using your dental costs as a tax deduction.

There may be IRS tax deductions that apply to you, which will help save you money later on while filing your taxes as a self-employed individual.

You should consider possible tax deductions when calculating the price of having dental insurance versus opting out. Talk with your accountant or a licensed tax professional for personal advice.

Maintaining dental health might end up saving you more money

Although you aren’t required to have dental insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, it might benefit you to take care of your teeth by practicing good oral care and visiting a dentist. The Center for Disease Control states that healthy oral practices can prevent disease of the teeth, gums, and mouth.
Since there are plenty of low-cost dental options available, you might be able to have dental insurance coverage and still not be over your budget.

The American Dental Association also states that keeping up your hygiene with routine cleanings can prevent the need for major procedures that might cost a lot of money. Whether you are covered or not, major procedures usually require out-of-pocket costs and procedures such as implanting crowns or bridges can cost over a thousand dollars without insurance. Finding a low-cost dental plan might end up saving you money at the end of the day.

This article is for general information and may not be updated after publication. Consult your own tax, accounting, or legal advisor instead of relying on this article as tax, accounting, or legal advice.

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