Delta Dental Insurance Review
Delta Dental Insurance is the largest dental insurance provider in the United States and has been operating since 1966. Eighty million people use Delta Dental’s insurance plans and the company has a wide network of dentists across the country.
Delta Dental is among the most trusted names in dental insurance in the U.S. But with so many other options available, is Delta Dental insurance worth your money? Let's explore.
Best annual maximum
Delta Dental has one of the best annual maximums of any dental insurance company we’ve reviewed. A policy's annual maximum limit sets the highest dollar amount a company will pay for dental benefits in a calendar year. Delta Dental's maximums vary between $1,000 and $2,000, and some plans have no maximum.
Delta Dental insurance pros and cons
- Policies are customizable
- Efficient and easy claim forms process
- Offers coverage for many preventive, basic and major dental care services
- Waiting periods for major and basic services are long
- Has a $10 enrollment fee
Policies are customizable
Delta Dental allows you to customize your plan. You can add orthodontic coverage, root canals, caps, implants and occlusal custom night guards to protect your teeth against grinding. This customization is a significant benefit for large families, allowing them to save money on multiple sets of braces and annual dental cleanings. While Delta Dental insurance coverage is primarily for oral health care, the company also offers vision benefits such as discounts on eye exams, contacts, glasses and laser eye surgery.
In addition to insurance, Delta Dental offers the following:
- Wellness library: A collection of informational videos and articles about dental health.
- My Smile Kids: Access to quality resources to help children learn dental health habits through games, tips and stories.
- Grin: An e-magazine about maintaining a healthy smile, including health tips and recipes.
- Virtual visits: With Delta Dental, you can schedule virtual visits as long as your dentist offers them.
Efficient and easy claim forms process
If you see a Delta Dental in-network dentist, claims processing is easy because you don't have to fill out any forms. Instead, dentists submit claims directly to the company. On the other hand, if you see an out-of-network dentist, you might have to file the claim yourself.
While the processing time varies from state to state, Delta Dental typically addresses claims within two to four weeks of receiving them. However, claims must be filed promptly. Any claims received more than 12 months after the treatment date might not be paid. One perk of Delta Dental is the ability to look up claims information for your dental visits over the previous 18 months in the company’s mobile app, which also lets you view and share your Delta Dental insurance card.
Offers coverage for many preventive, basic and major dental care services
A significant benefit of Delta Dental is that some of its plans cover 100% of preventive care costs and have no waiting period. Generally, the company's plans cover basic care at a lower percentage with a waiting period and major care at an even lower percentage with a longer waiting period.
A common question about coverage is: What do these different care terms mean? Here's a quick explainer:
- Preventive care: exams, bitewing x-rays, cleanings and fluoride treatments
- Basic care: root canals, fillings, simple tooth extractions and periodontal (gum) treatment
- Major care: dentures, crowns and implants
Coverage of the above procedures is a significant benefit for many people, a fact included in many of Delta Dental’s positive reviews.
Waiting periods for major and basic services are long
While Delta Dental covers many major and basic services, they often have long waiting periods for coverage to kick in. For example, some plans have a six-month period for basic care benefits and a 12-month period for orthodontics and major services.
Has a $10 enrollment fee
Delta Dental has a $10 enrollment fee, while many of its competitors have no enrollment fee. While this may not be a dealbreaker for everyone, it is still a minor irritant.
Delta Dental Insurance Plans/Offerings
Delta Dental’s coverage levels vary across the country, but we outlined some of the plans below to give you a rough idea of what to expect. Most plans cover two individual visits per year for dental cleaning.
Individual dental insurance
Delta Dental offers five individual and family plans:
- Delta Dental Preferred Provider Organization (PPO): This basic PPO option has lower-cost premiums but a smaller provider network, more limited coverage and a lower annual maximum limit.
- Delta Dental PPO Plus Premier: This is the company’s top PPO plan, and it has a more extensive provider network, which can limit more costly out-of-network care. It also offers more coverage than the basic PPO plan.
- Delta Dental Premier: Delta Dental’s managed fee-for-service plan has the company’s largest network of providers. The company reimburses participating providers directly based on the fees they've agreed to accept.
- Delta Dental Patient Direct: This is technically not insurance (what is insurance?). Instead, it’s a discount program that allows you to pay reduced fees to participating dentists.
- DeltaCare USA Health Maintenance Organization (HMO): The company’s HMO plan prioritizes preventive care and restricts care to in-network providers. This is the cheapest plan.
Senior dental insurance
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, almost two in three Medicare beneficiaries don't have dental coverage, so shopping for a dental plan is an essential task for many seniors. Options for Delta Dental insurance for seniors include the Individual and Family PPO Value for Seniors plan, which includes the following:
- No waiting period for care
- 100% coverage of most diagnostic and preventive care
- No copays, maximums or deductibles
- No need to file claims (the dentists do that)
- Up to 45% discount on restorative treatment (such as dental implants, bridges, dentures, crowns and inlays)
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has contracted with Delta Dental to offer two PPO plans and one HMO plan. The PPO plans cover preventive and basic care as soon as you meet your deductible. However, there is a 12-month waiting period for restorative care (even if you had continuous dental coverage with another insurance company). If you switch to another AARP PPO plan, the waiting period starts again. The HMO plan has no waiting period and immediately covers preventive, basic and restorative care. However, your plan’s coverage might not start for over a month. For example, if you sign up on September 21st, your plan won't activate until November.
Delta Dental insurance pricing
Because Delta offers a variety of plans and price varies based on location, Delta Dental insurance costs will depend on your situation and your plan selection. Generally, prices range from $17 to $170 per month. According to the company, you can save an average of 45% compared to having no dental insurance. The Delta Dental plans for seniors range from $12.50 per month to $42.25 per month, depending on where in the U.S. you live.
Below are sample prices for plans in different states:
- Florida: Plans start at $21.57
- Illinois: Plans start at $24.75
- New York: Plans start at $20.58
Delta Dental insurance financial stability
Each Delta Dental company has a different Best's Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR). BCAR is a rating assigned by A.M. Best, the foremost rating organization in the insurance category. A.M. Best evaluates the strength of an insurance company's balance sheet by looking at financial performance, leverage and underwriting activities. It uses these factors to test how various hypothetical financial scenarios could impact the company.
There are 39 independent Delta Dental companies, and a review of their BCARs shows strong ratings for Delta Dental of California, Minnesota, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa and more.
Delta Dental insurance accessibility
Delta Dental is available in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Suppose you sign up for Delta Dental through a state health marketplace. In that case, you can only join during open enrollment, between November and January, or when you experience a qualifying life event like getting married, having a child or losing a job. However, Delta Dental private insurance, which you buy on your own instead of through a marketplace or an employer, is available year-round.
The Delta Dental insurance phone number is different for each state. You can find the number you need by entering your state of residence on Delta Dental’s contact page.
Many reviews on websites such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot mention that the user experience with Delta Dental is less than optimal. Reasons for these negative reviews include long wait times when calling customer service, difficulty reaching someone at the company and long processing times for claims. While customers report an easy claims process, if it takes your dentist months to reach the insurance company, your claims processing will be delayed.
Delta Dental insurance customer satisfaction
On Trustpilot, Delta Dental has a 1.9 rating out of five. The company is not BBB accredited but has an F rating on the site. Out of 128 complaints against Delta Dental, 10 weren’t resolved, and it failed to respond to 5. The BBB bases its rating, in part, on how likely a company is to interact with its customers, so an F rating indicates that the company does a very poor job at customer interaction.
The customer review rating on the BBB's website is 1.05 out of five. The most frequent complaints are long wait times when calling Delta Dental insurance customer service and denial of claims.
Delta Dental insurance FAQ
How much is Delta Dental insurance?
Delta Dental insurance quotes can vary in price from $17 to $170 per month, depending on the level of coverage and your zip code.
How do you apply for Delta Dental insurance?
To apply for Delta Dental insurance, go to the company's national home page, scroll down to "Find your Delta Dental," and enter your state of residence under "I purchase dental insurance on my own." This will take you to another page where you'll enter your ZIP code and other information to receive a quote and apply for coverage.
Where is Delta Dental insurance accepted?
Delta Dental has a network of dentists who accept their plans in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Over 100,000 dentists nationwide accept Delta Dental. But in most cases, you can choose your own provider. Using an in-network dentist will likely result in a lower copay for you, since dentists agree to lower prices per procedure when they join the Delta network.
How much does a crown cost with Delta Dental?
The cost of a crown varies based on location and can even differ within one state, so we used Delta Dental's cost estimator tool to find the approximate cost of a crown for locations across the country:
- Providence, Rhode Island (02860): $1,366 to $1,500
- San Diego, California (91911): $1,500 to $1,790
- Boise, Idaho (83701): $1,217 to $1,444
- Denver, Colorado (80014): $1,452 to $1,604
- Baltimore, Maryland (21201): $1,418 to $1,621
- Salt Lake City, Utah (84044): $1,120 to $1,343
How we evaluated Delta Dental insurance
To evaluate Dental Dental's insurance offerings, we considered the following:
- Coverage level for preventive, basic and major care
- Waiting periods for coverage to take effect
- Customer satisfaction and BBB rating
- Ability to customize plans and add what you need because dental needs vary from person to person
Summary of Money's Delta Dental insurance review
We found Delta Dental to be one of the best dental insurance options for customizable policies and coverage for preventive, basic and major dental care. It offers coverage across the U.S. and its territories, with an extensive network and customizable policies.
Unfortunately, some treatments have long waiting periods, and not all coverage goes into effect immediately. Additionally, sign-ups for some Delta Dental plans are limited to annual enrollment periods, so it may not be the best choice for those urgently seeking dental coverage.