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Dean George is the Marketing Specialist and Content Creator for Dental Insurance
Store and its social media channels. He is a regular contributor to Agent Straight Talk, the
only consumer blog explaining the ins, outs and in-betweens of dental insurance and
discount dental plans. READ MORE

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What are waiting periods and why should you wait?

Feb 17, 2012

Ever notice that however much things change, waiting never does?

If you’re a student, every spring you wait impatiently for the school year to end. If you’re a parent, every fall you can’t wait for school to start!

If you’re an expectant mother, you can’t wait for the birth of your baby. If you’re a child, you can’t wait for Christmas. If you’re a Dad with kids in college, you can’t wait for their graduation.

One thing you won’t have to wait for now that you are reading this blog is learning what a waiting period is and why so many dental plans have them.

A waiting period is a period of time in which the insurance company will not pay for certain procedures and here’s why:

The purpose of a waiting period is it prevents people from dropping coverage immediately after having an expensive procedure done.  For example, if your monthly premium is $30 and you’ve paid only two months’ premiums and then obtain $600 worth of dental treatment, the insurance company is going to have less money to pay for other members’ oral care, including members that may have been paying their premiums for several years.

That would drive up everyone’s coverage costs and since we’re all in this together, what’s the advantage to that?

For consumers there is one huge advantage to choosing a plan with waiting periods: plans with waiting periods let you choose any dentist you want instead of choosing one from a plan’s network.  For example, if you join a Preferred Providers Organization (PPO), you can keep your same dentist regardless of whether they participate in a network or not. Likewise with indemnity plans, there are no networks and you can use any dentist you want. Also, if you live in a remote area where you can’t find a plan with a network dentist, a plan with no waiting period will let you get good care without a long drive.  

Also, waiting periods are one-time only for as long as you have the same plan. So whether you have a plan for two years or 10 years, unless your plan changes or you change plans, you will never have another waiting period. Lastly, since waiting periods generally apply to the more expensive procedures, this provides you extra time to budget for your share of the copay or coinsurance outlined in your dental plan.

And here’s another reason to smile: most dental plans have no waiting period for diagnostic and preventive services.

Remember that not all dental plans require a waiting period, such as Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO) and discount dental plans, so if you need treatment sooner rather than later, these types of plans would be a good choice for you to consider.  Plans like indemnity or PPO plans often have waiting periods, generally a six-month waiting period on basic services and 12-month for major services.

Alright, your wait is now over regarding knowledge of – wait for it – waiting periods! We appreciate you reading Agent Straight-Talk, and if you have a topic you’d like to see in a future blog post, please email me at:

Find me on Twitter at Twitter@ToothTeller

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Copyright 2012, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC

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