Best Dental Insurance for Seniors

Anthem has the best dental insurance for seniors

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Seniors need oral healthcare. The CDC suggests that one in five seniors 65+ have untreated tooth decay or have lost their teeth, and two out of three have gum disease. Moreover, medications for high blood pressure, depression, or bladder control can lead to dry mouth, increasing the risk for cavities and oral fungal infections. Unfortunately, Medicare doesn’t cover dental care, leaving seniors to find the best dental insurance independently. 

Luckily, multiple options for dental insurance for seniors exist to bring down the cost of oral care. The best dental insurance for seniors provides preventative treatment and diagnosis at 100% with no waiting periods. It has generous annual maximums for restorative care, ranging from a basic filling to a dental implant. Moreover, the best dental insurance for seniors provides multiple plan options, low deductibles, and reasonable waiting periods. Here are our top picks.

Best Dental Insurance for Seniors of 2021

Best Overall : Anthem


Anthem Essential Choice PPO Incentive

Anthem Essential Choice PPO Incentive

Key Specs:

  • No. of plans: 6 plans available
  • Coverage: The range of annual coverage limit is from $1,000 to $2,500
  • Availability: in 14 states

Why We Chose It: Anthem is the best dental insurance plan overall for seniors. It has six affordable plans with low deductibles that provide a generous annual maximum for participants and no waiting periods for preventative care. 

Pros
  • $1,000 to $2,500 in annual maximum between 6

  • 6-month waiting period for major services

  • Waiting period waived with proof of previous coverage

  • Several Medicare Advantage Plans with dental coverage

Cons
  • Rates vary based on geography and demographics

  • The most affordable policy doesn’t cover dentures, crowns, or bridges

Anthem is an excellent provider with an extensive Dental Prime network. Established in the mid-1940s, the company has won numerous awards, including a place on Fortune’s the World’s Most Admired Companies for 2020. The Indianapolis-based insurer offers plans both directly and through employers and is available in most states. 

Anthem is the best overall dental insurance provider with reasonable waiting periods and generous annual maximum benefits for subscribers in six different plans. Most of the plans had a $50 deductible for individuals, and there is no waiting period on diagnostic and preventative care. Basic coverage kicks in at three months, and major dental coverage had a six-month waiting period.

Four of the Essential Choice Plans cover bridges, crowns, and dentures at 50% and 70% for the top plan (Essential Choice Incentive). Moreover, the rates were reasonable, although they do vary based on your geography and demographics. For example, the rate in California for a 66-year-old came in at about $16 to $67. Also, Anthem has several plans in many states that work with Medicare Part C to enhance seniors’ care on Medicare.

Best Value : Liberty


Liberty

Liberty

Key Specs:

  • No. of plans: 3 plans available
  • Coverage: No maximums
  • Availability: in 9 states

Why We Chose It: Liberty Dental Plan is a discount plan, not dental insurance. However, the discounts that Liberty has negotiated in exchange for a reasonable annual premium are excellent, and they also offer a senior discount on the annual premium rate. 

Pros
  • No annual maximum or deductibles

  • No waiting period for coverage

  • Pre-existing conditions are covered

  • Senior discount is available

Cons
  • Not an insurance benefit

  • All costs are out-of-pocket, although discounted

  • No monthly rate; annual premium payment only

Liberty Dental Plan is a relative newcomer to the field, providing dental benefits for a little over 10 years. With 5 million members nationwide, Liberty Dental prides itself on having an extensive nationwide network. It also has additional plans available in Florida, where the company is based. 

Even though Liberty is not dental insurance but a discount plan, the bang you get for your buck is nothing to discount. With savings that activate two days after you join, Liberty’s discount program is an excellent way to bring down the costs of your oral healthcare.

There are no waiting periods, and you have access to the discounts after two days. Also, most pre-existing conditions are covered. The three programs are affordable at about $254, $412, $602 annually for an individual, which breaks down to around $21, $34, or $50 a month. Note that Liberty is only available in California, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, Missouri, New York, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Best Coverage Types : Guardian


Guardian

Guardian

Key Specs:

  • No. of plans: 3 PPO plans available
  • Coverage: Annual maximum ranges from $1,000 to $1,500 after 3 years
  • Availability: Many states

Why We Chose It: There are no waiting periods for preventative care and only six months for Basic care on all three plans. In addition, Guardian rewards you by increasing the annual maximums the longer you subscribe at each coverage level. Also, there is no deductible when you stay in-network. 

Pros
  • No deductible for in-network providers

  • No waiting periods for preventive care

  • Generous annual maximums by year 3

Cons
  • Major coverage requires a 12-month waiting period

  • Not all plans available in all states

Guardian Life Insurance of America was founded in 1860 and has grown into an insurance provider for dental insurance and many other types of insurance for more than 160 years. Today, it has over 7 million members that participate in its PPO or DHMO plans. 

Guardian offers excellent coverage for seniors with three plans. With a Bronze, Silver, and Gold plan available, the rates are competitive, and the maximums are generous. The Bronze and Gold plans cover preventative care 100% on day one of coverage and the Silver program at 80%.

There are no deductibles in-network and $50 when out of network. Each plan increases its annual maximum for the first three years by about $250 each year, to $1,000 for Bronze and Silver and $1,500 for Gold. The rates vary by state, but they range from roughly $26 to $51 per month in California.

Most Affordable : Cigna


Cigna Insurance

Cigna Insurance

Key Specs:

  • No. of plans: 3 PPO Plans
  • Coverage: Range of $1,000 to $1,500
  • Availability: 10 States

Why We Chose It: When you compare what it covers to what you pay, Cigna is the most affordable dental insurance plan for seniors. The Cigna Dental Preventative plan has no deductible and covers preventative at 100%, and advertised rates start at about $19 per person per month. 

Pros
  • No deductible or copayment for preventative care

  • Offers a 15% discount for additional family members

  • Includes dentures, partials, and bridges on the 1500 and 1000 plan

Cons
  • The preventative plan does not cover restorative care

  • Dentures, partials, and bridges have a 12-month waiting period

Cigna is a global health services company with more than 180 million customers and patient relationships around the globe. Since 1792, the Philadelphia-based company has grown to a worldwide organization with a presence in 30 countries. Choosing one of their providers nationwide allows you to take full advantage of their coverages and maximize your potential benefits. Cigna’s plans are available through an employer or direct. The plan benefits and coverage vary based on where you live and other variables. 

We chose the three Cigna dental plans as the most affordable because the rates start as low as roughly $19 per month per person, and for each additional family member you add, you get a 15% discount on their premium. The rates you pay will vary based on where you live and other information. For example, the plans are about $29, $39, and $56 per month for a woman over 50 in California.

All three plans have 100% coverage for preventative care and allow for three cleanings per year, more than the usual every six months coverage. Also, both the Cigna Delta 1000 and the Cigna Dental 1500 plans covered dentures, partials, and bridges at 50% after a 12-month waiting period.

Best for Low Deductible : Spirit Dental


Spirit Dental

Spirit Dental

Key Specs:

  • No. of plans: 8 plans available
  • Coverage: Maximums range from $1,200 to $5,000
  • Availability: 49 states

Why We Chose It: We chose Spirit Dental as the best for the low deductibles because it has a lifetime deductible of only $100. Plus, the sliding scale of coverage increases to 50% by the third year of coverage. 

Pros
  • Lifetime deductible of $100

  • Preventative covered at 100%

  • No waiting periods

Cons
  • Not all plans available in every state

  • It takes three years to hit a 50% coinsurance amount

Spirit Dental is a nationwide provider offered by Ameritas Life Insurance Corp and has high ratings from both Standard & Poor’s and AM Best. Coverage is available directly and through an employer and includes policies for individuals, families, kids, and seniors.

Spirit Dental has a $100-lifetime deductible and excellent value for its subscribers. With eight plans available, there are many options for dental care coverage. The Network 3500 plan can be a place to start your search as coverage begins on your first effective date. Preventative care is covered 100%, while Basic and Major services have increased coverage amounts for the first three years on most policies.

The annual maximum ranges from roughly $1,200 to $5,000, depending on your plan. However, not all plans are available in every state. Their premium rates vary based on where you live and other variables; however, based on a preliminary search, you can expect something in the range of about $50 to $110 per month, depending on the plan and coverage you choose.

Best for Seniors on Medicare : Aetna


Aetna

Aetna

Key Specs:

  • No. of plans: 4 Medicare Advantage plans available
  • Coverage: HMO has $2,000/yr. for preventative and comprehensive services
  • Availability: 49 states

Why We Chose It: We chose Aetna as the best dental insurance for seniors on Medicare because four affordable Medicare Advantage plans are available in 49 states that have great coverage options. Also, Aetna has an extensive network of providers that make it easy to find a dental provider in your area for oral healthcare. 

Pros
  • 4 plans to choose from

  • Picks up dental coverage not covered by Medicare

  • Has generous benefits for routine dental care and comprehensive services

Cons
  • Not all plans are available in every state

  • Some plans require a primary care physician for the coverage to apply

Aetna is an established healthcare insurance provider that is based in Hartford, CT. It has a stellar rating from AM Best. As of June 2020, there are over 2.8 million enrollees in Aetna’s Medicare Advantage programs, the majority of which are the HMO, PPO, Provider Sponsored Organizations (PSOs). They are available through an employer or direct, although direct plans are not available in all states. 

We chose Aetna as the best dental insurance for seniors on Medicare because its Medicare Advantage plans have dental coverage benefits. These benefits could include oral exams, cleanings, X-rays, fillings, root canal treatments, tooth extractions, crowns, bridges, implants, and dentures.

Also, Aetna’s Medicare Plus Plan (HMO) covers up to roughly $2,000 of preventative and comprehensive dental care in addition to other services with no monthly premium. Aetna’s Medicare Advantage plans are available in all 50 states and Washington D.C.

Best for Preventative Care : United Healthcare


UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare

Key Specs:

  • No. of plans: 10 plans available
  • Coverage: Maximums in some plans range from $1,000 to $3,000
  • Availability: Nationwide

Why We Chose It: United Healthcare’s dental insurance plans for seniors are the best for preventative care because there is no waiting period, and they cover it 100%. Also, the low deductible for the overall dentistry package is about $50. Moreover, their plans have generous coverage maximums for higher-end plans at reasonable rates. United Healthcare is also a well-established and networked company nationwide. 

Pros
  • No waiting period for preventative care covered at 100%

  • Low deductible

  • Shorter waiting periods on major coverage for some plans

  • No maximum age limit

Cons
  • No adult orthodontic coverage

  • Plan availability varies by state

United Healthcare is a prominent brand for insurance with nationwide coverage available all across the country with a stellar rating from AM Best. United Healthcare dental insurance is available at work or as an individual, although plan availability varies by state, as will your premium rates. In addition to their direct individual and employer-sponsored plans, United Healthcare offers two Medicare Advantage plans through AARP that covers dental, one with no monthly premium covering preventative dental with no deductible and copay.

The lack of waiting periods on preventative care covered 100%, high coverage amounts, and shorter waiting periods for coverage on many plans make United Healthcare’s plans the best dental insurance for preventative care. Moreover, several plans cover preventative at 100% with no waiting periods.

The brochure highlights what makes each program the most valuable to subscribers, so it's easier for you to find the right fit. For example, the monthly premium for a woman 65+ in California ranges from about $24 to $63, depending on the plan.

Final Verdict

There is no shortage of policy options for dental insurance for seniors. Some are less expensive month-to-month, like Cigna, but do not cover as much as the insurance programs with higher monthly premiums, like the ones provided by Guardian. Some of the best dental insurance for seniors is not the least expensive, like United Healthcare. Others aren’t actually dental insurance, like the Medicare Advantage programs with Aetna or Liberty’s discount savings plan. However, the overall best dental insurance for seniors is Anthem. 

Anthem has reasonable rates, excellent coverage benefits, and the most reasonable wait times of the insurance policies. Moreover, with a low deductible, a substantial network of providers, and multiple plan options, including some Medicare supplemental plans, Anthem provides excellent dental care coverage for seniors.

Compare the Best Dental Insurance for Seniors

Company Plans Providers In-Network (#) Coverage Limit Waiting Period Deductible
Anthem Best Overall 6 108,000 $1,000 to $2,500 None for preventative; 6 mo. for Major $50
Liberty Best Value 3 NA No  maximums None None
Guardian Best Coverage Types 3 100,000+ $500 to  $1,500 None for preventative; 6 mo. for Basic; 12 mo. for Major $0 in-network; $50 out of network
Cigna Most Affordable 3 93,000 $1000 to $1500 None for preventative; 6 mo. for Basic; 12 mo. for Major $50 individual; $150 Family
Spirit Dental Best for Low Deductibles 8 N/A $1,200 to $5,000 None $100  Lifetime  Deductible
Aetna  Best for Seniors on Medicare 10 120,000 $1,000 to $3,000 None for preventative; 6 mo. for Basic; 12 mo. for Major $50 individual; $150 family
United Healthcare Best for Preventive Care 10 270,000 $1,000 to $3,000 None for preventative; 6 mo. for Basic; 12 mo. for Major None

How to Choose the Best Dental Insurance for Seniors

While no dental insurance specifies it is only for seniors, some dental insurance policies are better for seniors than others. For example, some cover preventative care one day one with no deductible, but nothing else. Others cover preventative and other routine restorative treatments like fillings also. And some policies are more comprehensive and cover common treatments for seniors, like crowns, bridges, and dentures. 

There are several critical elements to consider when comparison shopping for the best dental insurance for seniors in 2021. Here are a few of the most essential factors:

  • Coverage Annual Maximum: Most policies have an annual limit on what insurance benefit any covered individual can expect under their plan each year. Some policies are more generous than others here.
  • Deductibles: The deductible is the amount you pay before your benefits and coverage apply. Sometimes the deductibles are annual, but other policies have a lifetime deductible.
  • In-network vs. out-of-network: Dental insurance plans have agreements with providers. You pay less when you work with an in-network dentist than an out-of-network one. 
  • Coinsurance Amounts: This amount is the percentage of costs you will pay after you meet your deductible. In some policies, this amount decreases after you subscribe for a time, like two or three years.
  • Exclusions: Most policies have some things they will not cover. It is essential to understand what your policy will not cover before you commit. 
  • Waiting Periods: Some policies require a waiting period before the insured can access the benefits. These timeframes tend to be 12 months for major services like bridges, crowns, dentures, implants, or orthodontics.
  • Medicare Advantage Plans: Some dental insurance companies have programs designed to provide dental care as part of the Medicare Part C plans. These plans offer the benefits that you get with Medicare Parts A and B, but with additional benefits, like dental care coverage—sometimes at no extra cost.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does Dental Insurance for Seniors Typically Cover?

The coverage for dental insurance for seniors varies depending on the policy. Also, where you live can affect how your policy works. As a result, there is no standard plan for seniors that exists, nor is there a set of benefits that all dental plans for seniors include. Therefore, reviewing the policy benefits is essential to ensure you have the coverage you need.  

There are also limitations to coverage, and these vary from policy to policy. For example, while most dental insurance plans for seniors cover preventative services, like cleaning and X-rays, at 100% without waiting periods and without a deductible, many do not cover more than that. The same is true for Medicare Advantage plans that have dental benefits. However, full coverage dental plans, like PPO, HMO, and POS, provide coverage for restorative work that is Basic, like fillings, and Major, like bridges and crowns. Even in comprehensive plans for Major services, some treatments like adult orthodontics, oral surgery, or implants are not covered, even when other Major services are. 

The options and combinations for what is and is not covered are endless. However, some general expectations you can have for dental insurance for seniors include:

  • At least two preventative care appointments, including exams and cleanings
  • Annual X-rays
  • Restorative work like fillings for cavities
  • Crowns
  • Root canal therapy
  • Tooth extractions

Most dental practices have a lot of experience working with dental insurance companies. When they are in-network for your insurance provider, they also know how to submit claims on your behalf.  We recommend asking your dental practice for help determining how your coverage and coinsurance amounts work. 

How Much Does Dental Insurance Typically Cost for Seniors?

What you pay for dental insurance as a senior depends on several factors. Most of the websites will get you a quote after collecting a bit of information about you, like where you live, your date of birth, and your gender. 

You can expect to pay more to get more coverage. Preventative plans tend to be less expensive, and from there, the premiums often double when you add in Major services coverage. 

It's important to keep in mind that the numbers change based on the variables we mentioned above. Some plans have discounts for seniors, like Liberty. However, most of the plans’ premiums are higher for older people than younger ones. Our estimates took place in CA, and the Cigna dental plans were advertised at about $19 to $35 for the rates, but our personalized estimates were around $24 to $49. 

The Medicare Advantage plans that included dental care were much more affordable than dental insurance plans for seniors. Some had no additional premiums at all and covered preventative care and diagnoses at 100%. 

Is It Worth Paying for Dental Insurance for Seniors?

We believe that if you choose the plan that best fits your needs, then buying dental insurance is worth the money. However, if you select a program that does not cover the services you need or covers too much for what you need, it will not be worth the investment.

Methodology

To sort through the details of dental insurance for seniors, we looked at the number of plans available, network size, coverage maximums, deductibles, and other essential details to compare what was available to seniors. With any dental insurance, the coverage depends on where you live and other specific information. In addition, coverage can vary by state; many websites required a zip code to view available policy specifics. We also considered the company’s reputation scores and published ratings by unbiased sources.

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3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Oral health for older Americans | Adult Oral Health | Basics | Division of Oral Health | CDC.

  2. Taking Care of your Teeth and Mouth. National Institute on Aging.

  3. Medicare and dental care. Medicare Interactive.