If you need to replace missing teeth, dental implants are one of the best go-to solutions. As artificial tooth roots that integrate with your bone like a real tooth, implants can support a variety of restorations (including crowns, bridges, or dentures) to replace as few or as many teeth as necessary.
Until the past few years, many types of dental insurance did not even cover dental implant treatment…not even partially. Why? Because until more recently, dental implants were an expensive procedure (compared to dentures, that is) that only certain people could afford. Older types of implants also involved more complex surgery than it does for the streamlined approach now used by dentists. Insurance companies thought that it was best to deter people from the treatment, so they didn’t offer benefits under their plans.
Getting Your Insurance to Pay for Implant Treatment
But now — thanks to modern technology — getting implants to replace your missing teeth is one of the most cost-effective solutions to restore someone’s smile. Why? Because the artificial roots can last for the rest of a person’s life. While the restoration on top may wear out, the implant itself should not. As such, it’s a smart investment for dental patients and their insurance companies to pay for.
As such, more dental insurance companies are starting to cover — at least partially — dental implant treatments. Most of them will not pay for 100% of the procedure, but closer to about 50%. That’s after the copay and deductible. Don’t forget the cost of the implant restoration that goes on top of the artificial root.
For example, if your dentist is offering an implant and crown special for $2,000 but you have a $200 deductible and 50% coverage, and your dentist is out of network, you may wind up paying over a thousand dollars for your procedure. If you’re using an in-network dentist, you can save more money in the long run.
What if there isn’t an in-network option or implants aren’t a part of the insurance policy that you are already paying into? The total cost of the procedure may be your own out-of-pocket responsibility.
Getting Discounts on Implant Treatment
Many implant dentists participate in a privately run discount or dental savings plans, which bypass the need to use an insurance policy for your tooth replacement procedure. With a Cigna dental discount plan, members receive as much as 50-60% off everyday procedures (including exams and cleanings.)
How? Because you’re bypassing the insurance company, and the dentist isn’t losing a “cut” of their income to the 3rd party policy provider. Instead, you take your discount card straight to the dentist’s office and they pass the savings right off to you.
Insurance Coverage on Implant Restorations
Don’t forget…on top of your dental implant, you will need to have a restoration like a crown or All-on-4 “hybrid” denture. The restoration is a separate fee from the cost of your implant. So even if your insurance covers 50% of your implant procedure, you may have already exceeded your maximum allowable amount for annual dental costs before you have your crown, bridge, or denture affixed to the implant. If you opt to go with a dental discount plan, there is no cap on how much you can save each year (you enjoy one flat discount.)
Don’t Get Caught by Surprises
When you see an implant dentist for your consultation, they will create a customized treatment plan that outlines how many implants you need, the type of implant restoration, and the various phases of surgery, as applicable. This plan will also include the costs for each procedure. For patients with Cigna insurance plans, they will include the estimated portion that your coverage will pay for.
Finally, you’ll have an estimate on your total out of pocket charges remaining. Please note that these are only estimates, and if for some reason your plan rejects the procedure you will be left paying for the treatment in full.
Consequently, treatment plans based off a Cigna dental discount plan will have a flat discount applied to the entire cost of the procedure, so there are no surprise unexpected bills in your mailbox after the treatment.