Dental Insurance For Non-US Citizens
Updated: June 4, 2020 at 10:38 pm
Everyone needs to take care of their teeth. The Mayo Clinic calls it a “window to your overall health”. Dental insurance can be a key component to your dental health. If you are an undocumented or a non-US citizen here in the US, you may feel that you can’t buy dental insurance. That is not the case. Dental insurance is available for non-US citizens, including undocumented immigrants and those without social security numbers. In this article, we discuss dental insurance basics and the types of dental insurance for non-US citizens.
Dental Insurance Basics For Non-US Citizens
Below are important definitions that make dental insurance understanding easier.
annual benefit – how much each calendar year the carrier pays on your behalf for services. Think of it as a bucket of money. This money pays the dentist for the carrier’s share of services. It is based on the contracted insurance cost, not what the dentist may charge to someone coming off the street.
premium – how much you pay each month for the insurance
deductible – what you pay first before the dental plan pays. Most deductibles are $50 and $100; however, there are a few $0s.
preventative services – consists of cleanings, office visit, and x-rays. If you go to an in-network dentist (more later), the plan typical covers 100% of the cost.
basic services – consists of fillings and extractions. Some carriers also include x-rays here.
major services – consists of crowns, root canals, dentures, etc.
waiting period – time period before you use services. Most plans have immediate coverage on preventative, 6 months on basic services, and 12 months on major services. If work is done during this waiting period, the insurance does not cover.
in-network dentists versus out-of-network dentist – this is an important component to understand. In-network dentists contract directly with the carrier. They agree to their insurance pricing. Out of network dentists do not agree to the insurance pricing. Instead, they may balance bill you.
balance billing – the practice of an out of network dentist billing you the difference between his or her price for a procedure and the payment from the insurance carrier.
These are a few of the dental insurance basics which we expound within the article.
The Importance Of An In-Network Dentist
It is important that you go to an in-network dentist where possible. The reason is the carrier requires the dentist to charge you the insurance fee. Let’s say your dentist “retail” price is $100 for a filling. He is in your dental insurance network. The insurance cost of the filling is $25. If the insurance carrier pays 80% for a filling and you pay 20%, that means you only pay $5. That is a lot better than paying $100!
If you do go to an out of network dentist, you will face balancing billing (described earlier) and a UCR fee. UCR means Usual, Customary, and Reasonable. This pertains to how dentists in your area charge for a certain procedure. The insurance company looks at the UCR fees in your area and bases their cost sharing or reimbursement off this fee. UCR is usually with out-of-network coverage and with indemnity plans.
Example of In And Out Of Network And UCR Fees
You’ll want to go to an in-network dentist as in-network insurance coverage usually has better contracted rates. We’ll show an example of that in a minute.
The insurance covers cleanings or preventative care at 100%. Basic and major services are covered at typically 80% and 50%, respectively. What does this mean? If you go to an in-network dentist for a tooth filling (80%) whose contracted rate is $100, you’ll have to pay $20 out of pocket ($200 X (1 – .80)). The carrier pays $80 to the dentist.
If you go to an out-of-network dentist, then the plan usually pays based on the UCR fee. For example, if the dentist charges $250 for the filling, but the UCR in your area is $150, you could end up paying more. In this case, $130: ($250 – $150 X (.80)). The carrier still pays 80%, but 80% on $150, not $100.
This also introduces the concept of balanced billing, which, as we defined earlier, means paying the dentist the cost difference between their “retail” rate ($250 in this case) and the cost-sharing insurance rate ($120).
This is why, most times, it is more advantageous to go with an in-network dentist.
Types Of Dental Insurance For Non-US Citizens
There are really three types of dental insurance for non-US citizens. They have many similar attributes, yet differences which we describe throughout this article. The right dental insurance depends on the non-US citizen’s situation. We discuss that next.
The three types of dental insurance include:
(1) traditional dental insurance with in and out-of-network, cost sharing, deductible, and copays. Traditional insurance can either be an in-network plan or both in and out-of-network (PPO).
(2) indemnity insurance plans which will pay a benefit directly to you or the dentist. It doesn’t usually matter which dentist you go to. These plans pay a fixed benefit or a percentage benefit regardless of what the dentist charges. These are useful if your dentist doesn’t accept insurance and you want some coverage.
(3) discount dental plans which you pay out-of-pocket costs at a discount off the dentist’s rate, per a contracted fee schedule
We describe next these types of dental insurance for non-us citizens next.
Traditional Dental Insurance
Traditional dental insurance usually covers the following for in-network dentists:
100% for preventative care services – cleanings, office visit for cleaning, and x-rays (usually)
80% for basic services – fillings, extractions (tooth removal), and some x-rays
50% for major services – crowns, root canals, etc
This means these services are covered at the insurance cost, not the dentist’s “retail” cost.
If you go to an out of network dentist, the carrier likely won’t cover you at these insurance percentages. Moreover, you have exposure to balance billing as well as UCR fees.
These plans make sense for undocumented immigrants and those without social security numbers. We work with plans that do not ask for a social security number on the application. Visitors here in the United States, on a VISA for instance, would have other options.
Indemnity Dental Insurance For Non-US Citizens
These plans pay a fixed dollar benefit regardless of the dentist charges. In other words, you really can go to any dentist and receive a benefit. These make sense when the dentist you see doesn’t take insurance.
Will you still have to pay balance billing? Maybe. Maybe not. Since these plans do not require a dentist, you don’t need to inform the dentist of the insurance. You can simply negotiate the cash price with the dentist and then file the claim directly with the carrier. For example, let’s use that filling example again. The dentist’s retail price is $150, but you negotiate at $100 and pay $100 out of pocket. You then file a claim with the carrier. The carrier pays 80% of the UCR fee. The UCR fee is $80. The carrier pays you $64 (80% of UCR). Your net expense in this is $36 ($100 what you paid minus $64 what you received).
Let’s say the UCR was $150. You would receive $120. Net profit of $20. Does this always happen? No, but it can. Likely, you will have to pay a net out of pocket.ou
These plans make sense for undocumented immigrants and those without social security numbers. We work with plans that do not ask for a social security number on the application. Visitors here in the United States, on a VISA, for instance, would have other options.
Discount Dental Plans
What are discount dental plans? They provide you with a network of dentists and dental specialists that offer their services at a discount. The discount can be as much as 60% to 70% off the UCR fee. You pay a very low monthly or annual fee, such as $10 per month. In return, you pay per a fixed fee schedule which the dentist or specialists agree to. It sounds like insurance, but it is not.
This is not insurance. Rather, the participating dentist provides a discount for his or her service rather than passing the service through insurance. The downside is that you have to pay the amount at the time of service.
These are more beneficial to visitors here in the United States, let’s say a person on a travel VISA or a student VISA. However, undocumented immigrants and those without a social security number can use it, too. You can check out all of the discount dental plans we support on our partner site.
Additionally, these plans offer other benefits such as vision services, prescription medication, and doctor tele-video services.
While they do have advantages, discount dental plans can cost a lot more in terms of total out-of-pocket costs. Moreover, not many dentists participate in discount dental plans. I think they can work, in certain cases, but tread carefully.
Even though you are a non-US citizen, dental insurance is available. It is available to undocumented immigrants and those who do not possess a social security number.
What would you like to do next? Contact us to use the form below if you would like our help. If you have a dentist, we can look them up and see what is available. As with everything we do, we only work in your best interests.
Are you interested in learning more about the information in this article? Please fill out the form below, and we will email you additional information or give you a call. We always work in your best interest. By entering your information, you are providing your express consent that My Family Life Insurance may contact you via e-mails, SMS, phone calls, or prerecorded messages at any phone number(s) that you provide, even if the number is a wireless number or on any federal or state do-not-call list. Additionally, you understand that calls may be placed using automated technology, and that consent is not a requirement for purchase. Your information will NOT be sold and will remain private. However, you may opt out at any time. We respect your privacy first and foremost.
60 thoughts on “Dental Insurance For Non-US Citizens”
I’m applying for a chance of status here so I don’t have a social security number yet. But I cannot wait and I need some dental treatment like crowns. Can you explain me more?
We can help. We offer plans that will cover you and offer first-day coverage for major services like crowns. I will email you with more information.
Can you email me information for dental insurance as well? My wife is applying for change of status and needs some serious dental work done. Multiple fillings, crown, and root canal. We live in *****, ** so plans for here would be great or for *******, ** where my dentist, ********* is located.
I did email you some information. Did you not receive it? I am happy to resend.
I’d like more information for dental insurance on how much I’d have to pay right away to get the insurance also how would I know if my dentist takes this insurance
Thanks for visiting and reaching out. I just sent you an email with an enrollment link. Sometimes, our emails go to spam, so check there if you don’t see the email in your inbox.
The cost, usually, is around $35 per month for a quality plan. However, this cost really depends on where you live. For example, residents of New York City will pay a lot more because expenses are a lot more.
I can help you determine if your dentist is in the network.
please give prices on dental insurance for undocumented person..
Hi Meibol – thanks for reaching out to us. Without knowing where you live, premium ranges might be $30 to $40 per month depending on your needs. If you live in New York, you are looking at $45 to about $60.
I need to see a dentist
Hi Oculina – just need to know the state and zip code where you live. We can help.
Do you know of an insurance plans that allow one to get a filling and cleaning on the first day.
Yes, Liam. Plans we work with have immediate coverage for all services, including fillings. If you’d like to learn more, just give us a call at (800) 645-9841. John
Do any of these cover braces?
Thanks for reaching out to us. Yes, these plans do cover braces for people age 18 and younger.
If you’d like to learn more, just let us know.
Is any of this plans cover dental implants?
Thanks for reaching out. Yes, implants are covered. If you have any questions, just give us a call at (800) 645-9841 or send us a note through our “contact us” link: https://myfamilylifeinsurance.com/contact-us/
Hi, I am looking for an insurance that could cover some of the Orthodontia Treatment. Thank you
Thanks for reaching out. Orthodontia is available for people 18 and younger. If the person is 18 and younger, coverage might be available. There are some waiting periods as well. Call us at (800) 645-9841 if you have any questions.
Hi, my niece is undocumented and urgently needs a root canal, some fillings and braces. Is there a dental insurance that would cover all three? If not, then priority would be for root canal and fillings. Our zipcode is 0****. Truly appreciate your help!
Thanks for reaching out. Yes, coverage is available. Braces depend on her age. She needs to be 18 or less to qualify for orthodontia treatment.
Feel free to give us a call at (800) 645-9841. I am happy to help.
Hi, I am a tourist with valid visa and no social, live in New York. What are the plans?
Just contact us or give us a call at (800) 645-9841 and we would be happy to help. We have helped many NY residents, social or none.
I have a tourist visa and I would like to get a dental care insurance (fillings and cleanings)
Thanks, Daniela, for reaching out. I’ll send you an email with additional information we will need. We can get you dental insurance, no problem.
Hello. Hope you’re fine.
I’m 29 years old. I need to extract my wisdom teeth (the 4 ones), just because I wanna put braces or invisalign on my teeth. It’s just cosmetic. Is there any plan that would work for me?
Thanks for reaching out. Wisdom teeth removal is covered; however, you’ll be paying a higher cost share. Additionally, this procedure is usually partially covered by health insurance as well.
Hey, thanks for answer.
What I have to do to get into the program?
I’ll send you an email directly now. If you can reply back to the email with the required information, I can send you the plans available. If you are interested, then I can enroll you over the phone or email you a self-enrollment link. You can have coverage as early as tomorrow.
isthere any dental insurance for non US citizen that has no waiting period like for basic & major servides
Yes, there are. Give us a call at (800) 645-9841 or click on the “contact us” link on our website.
Note: carriers generally exclude pre-existing conditions. So, if you already went to the dentist and he or she diagnosed a problem, that problem won’t be covered. However, anything else will.
Hi can you please email me this information
I will do so. Please check your spam folder as sometimes our emails end up there.
Thanks for reaching out to us and Happy Holidays!
Hey I’m an undocumented immigrant and I’m looking for insurance how do I know if I qualify for the one you are sharing. And could you share the coverage options too. Thank you.
Thanks for reaching out. I sent an email with an enrollment link. You can search for the plans in your area.
Please reach out if you have any questions. Note that dental insurance is not designed to cover every major cost. The purpose is really to maintain healthy teeth. Then, if you do have a dental issue, you have a good plan to provide assistance.
No tengo un SSN y quisiera obtener un seguro dental Para mi familia. Somos 5 personas. 43,41,21,15 y 13 años respectivamente. Podrías orientarme que debo hacer. Gracias
Thanks for reaching out to us and visiting our website. We can help you obtain dental insurance for your family.
Hola, soy un inmigrante indocumentado y estoy buscando un seguro, ¿cómo sé si califico para el que estás compartiendo? ¿Y podrías compartir también las opciones de cobertura? Gracias. Zip code: 98204 Everett WA
Please give us a call, and we can help. We work with a carrier that doesn’t require a social security number. There are plans available in your area.
I want to apply for dental insurance please and thank you
Thanks for reaching out. Give us a call or text us at (800) 645-9841 and we can help.
I have a tourist visa and I would like to get a dental care insurance because I think I need a Root canal.
Since you are here on a temporary VISA, I recommend a dental discount plan for your needs. You can select one in your area here: http://www.dpbrokers.com/170829.dp
I am looking for insurance that can cover at least some of my root canal.
Yes, the insurance we work with will cover part of your root canal.
Need insurance that will cover crowns and root canals, no social security number due to change of status
Yes, the plan we work with covers that. Please email us through our “contact us” link, and we can email you the information.
I needto make an appointment can you help me please?
Thanks for reaching out to us. We can provide a couple of dental insurance options. You can then enroll in one and then set up an appointment with an in-network dentist.
I would also like to have a dental insurance since I am not qualified to get an SSN in the US
Thanks for reaching out to us. I will email you the enrollment links shortly. You can reach out to us if you have any questions.
Can you send me information about enrollment and the in-network dentist.
Sorry for the late reply. Just email us your email address or give us a call, and we can send you the enrollment links.
Hi, I’m undocumented and needed dental insurance with instant coverage. I’m from new york, how much will i pay monthly? And will traditional dental insurance fit my dental needs? Is it worth my monthly payment? Will i say i saved more because of that dental insurance?
All valid questions, and the answer is it really depends on your situation. Dental insurance isn’t necessarily designed to cover the “big” expenses, especially if you have never had insurance before. It is really designed to cover preventative care and moderate dental needs. It will cover larger expenses provided you have held the dental insurance policy for longer than 1 year.
Hi, I do not have a ssn at the moment but need dental, root and cavities done. What are my options for schaumburg il
We do have carriers that will insure people in your situation. However, you’ll pay more out of pocket in the first year (because you only have had the plan for 1 year). After holding the plan for 1 year, the plan pays more for these types of services. Cleanings and preventative care are covered 100%.
There are plenty of dentists available in the Schaumburg area.
Feel free to send a request through our “contact us” page, and I can email you those carriers.
Hello, I don’t have a ssn right now, how can I get dental insurance?
Yes, you can obtain dental insurance. Please contact us at (800) 645-9841 or contact us through our contact us link on our website. We can send you some additional information.
I need a insurance for undocumented non US citizen
Thanks for reaching out. I did email 3 carriers that will accept non-citizens. You can self-enroll. Of course, if you have questions, please let me know. John