Employee Benefits

7 Things to Consider During Open Enrollment for Dental Insurance 

4 min read
Sep 08, 2023

Healthy living means caring for your entire self — from the top of your head to the tips of your toes — and of course, that includes your teeth.  

Routine dental care can be an important part of maintaining your overall health. So when open enrollment comes around, it’s important to consider your dental health in your healthcare choices. Enrolling in dental insurance is  straightforward process, but you still need information to help make the best choice for your needs. In this article, we answer seven common questions about dental insurance.  

1. How can you get dental insurance? 

Dental insurance is a common employee benefit that many companies provide. Your company’s human resources (HR) department should have information on what kind of dental plans they offer and how you can enroll in them. 

Open enrollment is a great time to research different types of insurance options. Often, employees are provided with information and resources to learn more before open enrollment begins. Take advantage of these resources — they’ll help you make a well-informed choice. 

2. When is open enrollment for dental insurance? 

Open enrollment usually starts around October or November each year, but it varies depending on your employer. During this time, employees can enroll in new plans or change their existing coverage. 

3. What if you miss dental insurance open enrollment? 

If you’ve had a qualifying life event (QLE) — like marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child — you may be eligible for a special enrollment period (SEP). Your company’s HR professionals can help you determine if you’re eligible to enroll in or change your dental insurance outside of open enrollment. 

4. Why sign up for dental insurance? 

Having dental insurance can be a major motivator to go to the dentist for routine cleanings. Oral health is an important part of our overall health and keeping up with preventive care can help you identify and treat any problems early on. 

Without dental insurance, you may put off your six-month checkups and delay needed dental work. Poorly cared for teeth and gums can lead to other health problems, including heart issues and infections.1 With dental insurance, you can go to the dentist knowing you’ll be saving money and maintaining your good health. 

5. What does dental insurance cover? 

Many dental plans cover routine cleanings, checkups every six months, and annual X-rays, but your exact coverage depends upon the policy you choose. Your out-of-pocket costs depend on your plan, but preventive and routine services are generally 100% covered. Plans also can help cover major services like crowns, surgeries and orthodontia.

6. What kinds of dental insurance plans are there?

Dental insurance plans are primarily broken down into two groups: health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and preferred provider organizations (PPOs).  

HMOs cover care within a network of dentists, while PPOs provide for both in-network and out-of-network dental care. HMOs limit your provider options, whereas PPOs give you more flexibility to go where you want. However, PPOs will generally have more out-of-pocket costs and higher premiums. Both have their strengths, so the better choice depends on your needs and preferences. 

7. Can you also use health savings or spending accounts for dental expenses?

A health savings account (HSA) or limited purpose flexible spending account (LP-FSA) can help you pay for out-of-pocket dental expenses, potentially saving you money on healthcare. Both of these accounts let you set aside pre-tax dollars from your paycheck to use on eligible medical expenses, including dental services. Like dental insurance, you can enroll in an HSA or LP-FSA during open enrollment or after experiencing a QLE. 

If you have additional questions about dental insurance or specific questions about your company’s dental coverage, reach out to your HR team. They can give you one more reason to smile about your healthcare enrollment options. 

Explore Dental Insurance During Open Enrollment 

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1 “Gum disease and the connection to heart disease,” Harvard Health Publishing, 2021 

This article is intended to provide general information about insurance. It does not describe any MetLife Insurance company product or feature.