Dental Insurance Options for College Students

Great dental health requires regular check-ups and other paid professional care. Unfortunately, college students aren’t exactly known for having extra funds. While dental insurance can help lower care costs, is it the right choice for a college student?

If you’re in college, or are the parent of someone who is, you probably have questions about affordable dental care. Should you purchase dental insurance? If so, from where? If not, what other savings options are available? Here’s an in-depth look at how college students can keep dental care affordable.

How Do I Prevent Dental Problems?

Proper prevention is the easiest and most affordable way to avoid big dental bills. College can be busy with irregular hours and a hectic daily schedule. But you want to always commit to dental care basics which include:

  • Brushing at least twice daily for two minutes or more each time
  • Flossing once a day (can be at any time)
  • Avoiding sticky, sugary foods and drinks

Simple, daily dental care substantially reduces your risk of developing dental problems. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to provide complete protection. You’ll still need to visit a dentist at least twice a year for a check-up and professional cleaning.

Aside from paying for dental visits, you might also need to pay for treatments. Even if you take great care of your teeth, problems such as cavities, gum disease and more can occur. Paying for even minor dental treatments out-of-pocket can be expensive.

Can I Get Dental Coverage through My School?

Maybe. Many large colleges and universities offer health plans for students. These health plans are usually designed to fit student budgets. They’re often the best option for affordable health care while attending college.

Dental plans aren’t quite as common. When available, they’re usually a separate cost. However, student dental plans can still be a good deal because, like health plans, they’re designed with student budgets in mind. Plus, the participating dental office is usually conveniently located on campus.

Can I Get Dental Insurance through the ACA?

Many college students find affordable health insurance through the ACA marketplaces. You can find health insurance for practically any budget. But finding affordable dental insurance can be more of a challenge.

Health insurance is legally required, but dental insurance isn’t. Insurance companies typically don’t offer many dental insurance options on the ACA marketplace, but some are available.

Dental insurance is available through the ACA in two ways. It’s bundled with certain health policies and available as standalone plans. However, in order to buy a standalone plan, you’ll need to already have health insurance purchased through the Marketplace.

Can My Parents’ Dental Plan Cover Me?

A major aspect of the ACA is it allows children to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until the age of 26. Because most college students are under the age of 26, this change in the law was a welcome benefit for many.

If your parents currently have dental insurance through the ACA, you should be covered under their policy. But you won’t be covered if they have a private policy or a policy provided by an employer.

Can I Purchase Private Dental Insurance?

Yes, but make sure you’re not paying more towards the insurance company than you’re getting back in coverage. Dental insurance can be tricky to navigate. You’ll need to pay a premium each month to keep the policy active. But you’ll also need to pay a deductible before coverage takes effect.

Plus, dental insurance has limitations. Your policy will only cover a set amount each year. If you reach that amount, you’ll have no more coverage for the year. While limits vary by policy, they average between $1,000 and $1,500. Unfortunately, that’s usually enough to cover just one significant dental procedure each year.

Additionally, dental insurance often places limits on treatment for pre-existing conditions. In some cases, you might have to wait six months or a year until you’re eligible for certain procedures. Certain conditions, such as missing teeth, might not be covered at all.

Are Alternatives to Dental Insurance Available for College Students?

Lack of dental insurance doesn’t mean lack of dental care. Instead of purchasing dental insurance, many college students choose a Careington dental discount plan. Often touted as the affordable alternative to dental insurance, dental discount plans offer savings of 20-50% on preventative, basic and major dental services. Discounts have no limits on pre-existing conditions. Plans start at under $10 a month, which fits even the smallest budgets.

College is a great way to set yourself up for success – but don’t get sidetracked by dental decay. Fortunately, you have a few options to help manage care costs. If dental insurance doesn’t seem like the choice, consider a Careington dental discount plan. It’s the smart way to save on your dental care.


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