A Freelancer’s Guide to Understanding Dental Insurance

Maintaining good dental health is on nearly everyone’s list of things they want, which makes having great dental insurance even more important. Although it can still be tricky understanding what your dental insurance covers and which plan to choose, navigating dental insurance is far easier than looking at health insurance and all of the variables that come with it. Straightforward, dental insurance plans have the benefit of being able to be specific, which means you better understand what they’ll cover — and what you’ll be paying at appointments and for different services. Depending on the health insurance plan you have, dental insurance will either be included or you’ll need to have a separate dental policy. 

A Closer Look at Dental Insurance for Freelancers

Selecting a dental insurance plan requires you to look at the services you need and the dentists you’ll want to be able to work with. If you have specific providers and services in mind, then it will be easier to narrow down your dental insurance plan options. Of course, if you have a certain dentist you want to work with, and they are not covered in the network your insurance provides, then know you will pay significantly more to see your dentist than you would a dentist “in network”. For that reason, individuals who don’t have a specific dentist in mind can shop for the least expensive plans, knowing they are okay with whichever dentists are covered in their plan’s network. 

When you start looking at the cost of individual dental plans, keep in mind that the cost of dental insurance varies depending on:

  • The insurance company you’re choosing to work with
  • Where you’re located in the country
  • The type of plan you choose (what it covers and how much you’ll pay)

Generally speaking, dental insurance comes with a monthly premium of around $50, which is something you’ll pay regardless of the work you get done or the visits you schedule with your dentist. 

Understanding Wait Periods, Deductibles, and Other Costs

Once you sign up for a dental insurance plan, you’ll start what’s often referred to as a “waiting period” — or an amount of time you’ll need to wait before any work (not just a regular clean) can be performed and covered by insurance. These periods of time can be as long as twelve months and all the way up to two years for major dental work. While these waiting periods can be frustrating, they’re necessary for insurance companies because they ensure that they make a profit off of new accounts. Without wait periods, individuals knowing they need major dental work could take advantage of insurance providers, cancelling policies almost immediately after the work is done. 

In addition to waiting periods, dental insurance comes with standard deductibles (like health insurance). These deductibles require a minimum amount to be paid before insurance money kicks in. If your deducible is $500 and your procedure cost $450, then you’ll pay the entire cost yourself. But, once your deductible is met, then the insurance will start to pay, which means your next $450 procedure will be covered — at least partially. A closer look at your dental policy will reveal something known as “co-insurance”, which will detail how much (typically a percentage) you’ll still pay after your deductible is met. 

Your dental insurance will also list co-pay costs, which is the amount you’ll pay before a procedure is done, like a standard cleaning or routine visit. Preventative care is almost always covered completely by your insurance plan, while basic and major work will carry deductibles and co-insurance unique to the plan you have. 


With a set of insurance and financial services specifically created for freelancers, CareerGig can help you find the best fit for your needs. Learn more about insurance for freelancers here.

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