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Why do dental insurance plans have waiting periods?

Dental Shop Staff Writer | February 17, 2020

What is a dental insurance waiting period?

A waiting period is the delay in between the time of the enrollment effective date and when coverage starts for select services. For instance, there may be a 6-12 month time period before the dental insurance company will pay for a major service. 

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Why do dental insurance plans have waiting periods?
Waiting periods restrict people from enrolling just for coverage on a service or procedure, and then canceling after they receive the coverage. There are certain dental insurance plans that have no waiting periods. Some plans just have waiting periods on basic and major procedures but will cover preventative services immediately after enrollment.


How long are waiting periods?
Waiting periods vary in length from plan to plan, but typically they are 6 months to a year. Generally, the more expensive the service is the longer the waiting period.


How can I avoid having a waiting period?
Certain providers offer plans with no waiting periods. Rather that waiting periods, these plans will offer coverage for services from day one that that plan is effective. These plans may have a lower percentage of coverage for the first year that you have the plan and then increase in coverage each year that you have the plan. For instance, the non-waiting period plans may pay 30% for a covered service year one then increase to 50% year two and beyond. The plans available to you will depend on where you live. You can look further into your dental insurance plan options here. Some companies will waive the waiting period if you have proof of prior dental coverage.