Since you've got valuable life experience, you know how important it is to work with a trusted company when you're making any purchase, especially with insurance. We'll go over what Best Company's top-ranked dental providers offer seniors to help you understand your options and decide how to proceed.
If you want to read expert tips on buying dental insurance, read Part One of this series: Best Dental Insurance for Seniors: Expert Tips and Advice.
Best Company uses an algorithm to rank companies. Ranking factors include time in business and other industry markers. The algorithm heavily weights customer reviews left on Best Company — the star rating and quantity. It also considers how companies respond to reviews.
Below is an overview of our top-ranked dental insurance companies and what they offer seniors. As you review your options, you may want to compare rates and coverage across several plans to see which one would be best for you.
Note: The Ranking, Overall Score, and User Star Rating information included in the following sections are from April 28, 2020. The scores consider reviewers who are seniors and who are not, so the rankings and scores may not fully represent which dental insurer is best for seniors. However, companies that rank high are more likely to treat their plan members well.
Overall Score: 7.1/10
User Star Rating: 4.1/5 (based on 40 reviews)
UnitedHealthcare ranks first for dental insurance. Positive reviewers mentioned good experiences with coverage and customer service. Negative reviewers had issues with plan coverage and costs.
UnitedHealthcare’s plans are through the Golden Rule Insurance Company. It offers dental plans designed for older adults with no age restrictions.
While you’ll want to work with UnitedHealthcare directly to learn more about plans available in your area, we looked at Glendale, Arizona as an example.
There UnitedHealthcare offers four Dental Gen Plans:
- Gen Saver
- Gen Plus
- Gen Basic
- Gen Deluxe
These are available to seniors age 64 and older. All plans include the following features:
- No waiting periods
- EPIC Hearing Healthcare hearing coverage
- Ability to add vision coverage
The hearing coverage includes fixed benefit amounts for an annual hearing exam and increasing coverage for hearing aids every year you maintain coverage (up to three years) but don’t use it.
These plans also have similar coverage rates for basic and major dental services. The coverage rates also increase the second and third year you keep the policy.
The biggest differences among the plans are the premium costs, deductibles, annual maximum benefit amounts, implant coverage, and network flexibility.
The Gen Basic and Gen Deluxe plans offer full coverage for in-network preventive care. The Gen Saver and Gen Plus plans cover in-network preventive care at 60 percent for the first year. The coverage rate increases each year you maintain the policy capping at three years.
Only the Gen Deluxe plan offers coverage for implants. It also has the highest annual maximum benefit.
The Gen Saver plan has the lowest premium, while the Gen Plus plan offers more network flexibility.
Rules about how frequently services are covered may vary by state. Be sure to review the plan’s details on how frequently services are covered and understand the exclusions and limitations in the plan’s brochure.
Premium rates will also vary, so work with UnitedHealthcare directly to get more specific details on premium costs. You can also work with UnitedHealthcare to learn more about its general dental plans for individuals and families to see if any of those are options.
Overall Score: 7.1/10
User Star Rating: 4.4/5 (based on 42 reviews)
MetLife ranks second for dental insurance. It has the highest star rating of the four insurers included here.
Positive reviewers mentioned cost transparency, good customer service, and good coverage. There were no 1-star reviews. However, less favorable reviews included issues with coverage and network difficulty.
MetLife is not as clear on whether they have specific plans designed for seniors. However, it does offer a TakeAlong DentalSM plan that individual buyers can purchase on their own and a Veteran Affairs Dental Insurance Program for U.S. military veterans. It also opened its Federal Dental Plan to retired uniformed service members and their families.
The TakeAlong DentalSM plans come in three options:
- High Option Benefit
- Medium Option Benefit
- Low Option Benefit
These plans offer comprehensive coverage for dental services — preventive, basic, and major. They also offer in- and out-of-network coverage. Out-of-network coverage gives you more flexibility when choosing a dentist while seeing an in-network dentist also gives you access to negotiated rates.
The TakeAlong DentalSM plans also offer coverage for implants and implant repairs, though there are frequency restrictions around the coverage.
The biggest differences between the plans are child orthodontia coverage, coverage rates, annual maximum benefit, and deductible amounts. Premium rates also vary based on the plan you choose, location, and demographics (e.g. age).
MetLife’s Veteran Affairs Dental Insurance Program is designed for active and retired military service members. It offers a Standard Option and a High Option. Both offer in- and out-of-network care. The biggest differences are the coverage rates and annual maximum benefit amounts. The High Option includes child orthodontia coverage, but the Standard Option does not.
If you are a U.S. military veteran, it’s worth exploring MetLife’s program further to get specific details and premium quotes.
MetLife’s Federal Dental Plan is open to retired uniformed service members and their families. This plan also has a Standard Option and a High Option. Both offer access to large provider networks, excellent pre-negotiated rates for services, and coverage for adult and child orthodontics. There are also no waiting periods or annual deductibles.
Overall Score: 6.9/10
User Star Rating: 3.9/5 (based on 53 reviews)
Cigna ranks third for dental insurance, but has the lowest star rating of the insurers included on this list.
Positive reviewers mentioned good customer service, easy-to-use online tools, and satisfaction with coverage and the claims process. Negative reviewers mention difficulty with the claims process, difficulty with coverage, and experiences with a low value for a high cost.
While Cigna has resources on dental care for seniors, it doesn’t list plans geared specifically for seniors. It does offer three dental plan options that anyone purchasing their own dental insurance can buy.
- Cigna Dental Preventive
- Cigna Dental 1000
- Cigna Dental 1500
The Cigna Dental Preventive plan fully covers in-network preventive care. No other dental services are covered.
The Cigna Dental 1000 offers the same coverage as the Cigna Dental Preventive plan and includes coverage for restorative care.
The Cigna Dental 1500 has higher coverage for restorative care and includes some coverage for orthodontics.
4. Delta Dental
Overall Score: 5.7/10
User Star Rating: 4.1/5 (based on 112 reviews)
Delta Dental ranks fourth for dental insurance. It has the second highest star rating of the four insures included in this article.
Positive reviewers noted satisfaction with pricing, coverage, claims processes and payment, and customer service. Negative reviewers mentioned difficulty with prior authorization, difficulty getting things resolved in a timely manner, and high costs for the value offered.
Like UnitedHealthcare, Delta Dental’s plans can vary by location. Delta Dental has a page specifically to help retirees find dental plans available in their area. Delta Dental also offers the same plans to individual buyers as it does to employers.
Delta Dental also offers plans designed for seniors through the AARP. These plans are only available to AARP members, and there may be some variation by area.
For example, in Arizona Delta Dental offers three plans:
- DeltaCare USA
- PPO Plan B
- PPO Plan A
DeltaCare USA offers in-network coverage, two cleanings per year, and up to 24 months of orthodontia. This plan doesn’t have a deductible or annual max. Instead, there are fixed copays for the dental treatment you receive.
The PPO Plan B and PPO Plan A offer similar coverage. Both offer in- and out-of-network coverage, three cleanings per year, and implant coverage once you maintain the plan for one year. The differences between these plans are the annual deductible and annual maximum benefit amounts. The PPO Plan A offers a lower deductible and higher annual maximum benefit amount. Because of this increased coverage, the PPO Plan A likely also has a higher monthly premium.
All of these plans state that they have no exclusions for most pre-existing conditions. While this is a nice advantage of these plans, you should check to see what kinds of pre-existing conditions are not covered under each plan if you have a pre-existing condition you need to take care of.