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What To Do If Your Dental Insurance Coverage is Maxed Out

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Your dentist just told you that you need a root canal and a crown. No problem, you’ve got dental insurance. But you may still end up paying out-of-pocket for the procedure if you exceed your insurance’s annual “cap,” also known as the annual maximum spending limit. In this article, we’ll cover what to do, and ways to continue saving on dental care after maxing out your coverage. 

What is the annual spending limit for dental insurance?  

Dental insurance – including insurance offered by many Medicare Advantage plans – is typically capped at $1000 –$1,500 per person on the plan, per year. Once your annual maximum is reached, you pay out of your pocket for dental care until the next plan year.  

As you may have already found out, just one restorative procedure, like a root canal and crown, can quickly max out your insurance. The average* cost for a crown is $750-$2000 per tooth, and the cost of a root canal is $750-$1,000+ per tooth, making it easy to exhaust your annual dental coverage of $1000-$1500. 

Is there a maximum I’ll pay out of pocket with dental insurance? 

Unlike medical insurance, which typically has an out-of-pocket maximum – a point at which you stop paying for care – dental insurance does not usually have a maximum out-of-pocket (plan details vary, so always check your coverage details). This means you’ll be responsible for the full out-of-pocket costs. 

There is one exception: if you have a stand-alone dental insurance plan, certified by the Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obamacare) exchange, there is a limit. In 2023 the maximum out-of-pocket cost is $375 for one child, and $750 for a family with more than one child covered by the plan. In 2024, that amount is set to increase to $400 per child, and $800 for multiple children covered on a family policy.  

How to save after you maxed out your dental insurance 

Once you’ve reached your annual limit, you’re responsible for the full cost of any dental care you need. You can ask your dentist about a payment plan for the amount you’re responsible for, or you may want to consider supplemental dental insurance coverage or a dental savings plan – both can help fill the financial gaps when your traditional dental insurance has hit its limit. 

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Supplemental Dental Insurance Coverage 

You can get a Supplemental dental insurance coverage plan – a type of plan that is typically purchased for a specific costly treatment, such as braces, dental implants  or veneers – for a year or two. If you’re considering this type of plan, make sure there’s no waiting period before your procedure is covered. With a new-to-you plan, you may have to wait six months for basic restorative services or a year for major restorative services. 

The good news is that supplemental dental insurance policies tend to have no annual spending limits and no deductibles. The bad news is that supplemental dental insurance policies also tend to be expensive, assume you’ll pay at least as much for your supplemental plan as you do for your primary plan.  

Advantages of dental savings plans 

Dental savings plans are a trusted alternative to dental insurance that can save plan members an average of 50%* on their dental care. They can be used alongside a dental insurance plan to step in, when your insurance is maxed out. Speak to your dentist to coordinate your plans. 

Dental savings plans provide savings on virtually all treatments – from braces to dentures. And while traditional dental insurance often has annual spending caps, waiting periods, approval process or restrictions on pre-existing conditions, dental savings plans do not.  

Dental savings plans are very affordable. The plans on DentalPlans.com start at just $79.95 annually for an individual. Plus, many dental savings plans include additional wellness benefits, such as savings on vision and hearing care, prescriptions, and more, at no extra cost. 

To learn more about dental savings plans, call our expert team at 1-833-735-0399 – we’ll answer any questions and provide you with a plan recommendation in minutes. Want to take a quick look at what a dental savings plan can save you right now? Use our calculator below.  

*Discount Health Program consumer and provider surveys indicate average savings of 50%. Savings may vary by provider, location, and plan.   

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