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Preparing for Open Enrollment: Dental Insurance

Posted on August 2, 2023 in Insurance

Insurance open enrollment, including for dental, is approaching fast. Are you ready for it?

Dental insurance open enrollment is approaching fast. Are you ready?

Open enrollment is a period of time, typically near the end of the year, where you can add benefits for the first time or make changes to your current insurance plans offered through your employer. This may be one of the only times throughout the year when you can make changes to existing coverage or opt-out of benefits.

Whether this is your first time or you’re an experienced participant, it’s always a good idea to make sure you understand your needs before the next open enrollment period begins. Use this guide when preparing for dental insurance open enrollment.

Why is dental insurance open enrollment a big deal? 

Open enrollment gives individuals the chance to review and modify their benefits based on their specific needs at the moment. For instance, it gives employees or individuals the opportunity to select dental insurance plans, add or remove dependents, choose coverage levels, and make other benefit-related decisions.

When is dental insurance open enrollment?

If you’re receiving benefits through your employer, the exact dates for your open enrollment period may differ. Typically, open enrollment is conducted 30-60 days prior to your plan effective date. Be sure to keep an eye out for any emails from your HR team and communicate with them directly for details.

If you get your coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, open enrollment begins on Nov. 1, and Dec. 15 is the last day to enroll in plans or make any changes before coverage starts on Jan. 1. Any enrollment after Dec. 15 and through Jan. 15 will have a coverage start date on Feb. 1. The end of open enrollment is typically Jan. 15.

Tips for preparing for dental insurance open enrollment

Taking the time to prepare for open enrollment before it starts will make the process easier and more manageable. Use the tips below to get ready.

  • Review current coverage
    • Before open enrollment starts it’s a good idea to go over your current coverage and benefits, if you have them, to see if they fit your needs. If they don’t, write down notes that will help you when it’s time to choose your new plan(s).
  • Determine your needs
    • After evaluating your current coverage, it’s time to consider any changes that may be coming. Do you have a dental procedure in the future that isn’t covered by your current dental plan? Do you have a child who needs dental insurance? These factors should be considered before going through dental insurance open enrollment.
  • Seek guidance and do research
    • If your employer provides your coverage and benefits, they will typically supply information about the plans they offer. Often, employers will host informational meetings before open enrollment begins to help employees fully understand their options and the enrollment process. If your employer doesn’t offer this guidance, be sure to talk to an HR representative or benefits administrator to get any questions answered.
    • If you have an individual dental plan, use that company’s customer service team to get answers to your questions or concerns. They should be able to guide you to the perfect dental plan for you.
  • Compare plans
    • Whether you have an employer-sponsored plan or individual plan, there will likely be options when it comes to coverage levels. It’s important to go through each plan option to understand things like network providers, costs, coverage, premiums, coverage limits, etc. This gives you an idea of what to expect for costs during the next year. Often, there are documents that compare plans side-by-side to make it easier to spot differences between them.
  • Create a checklist
    • As open enrollment gets closer, it’s a good idea to make a checklist. You might include things like the benefits you want to enroll in or any changes needed to your current plans. A well-planned and comprehensive checklist helps make the enrollment process stress-free.
  • Know your timelines
    • Don’t miss dental insurance open enrollment because you had the dates wrong. Double check with your HR department or individual benefits provider and highlight the start and end dates for open enrollment on your calendar. Setting reminders on your smart device is also a great way to keep on top of timelines.
  • Take your time
    • Once it’s time to enroll, make sure you carefully read through everything in a focused manner. This is not the time to skim over things. It may be helpful to wait to go through the process when you have dedicated time without distractions. If you have a partner, having them look over everything before submitting your selections is a good way to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

By following these steps, you can be well-prepared to make informed decisions about your benefits during the dental insurance open enrollment period.

Delta Dental of Iowa offers a range of dental coverage options for employers and individuals. Learn more about our plans for individuals and families and Medicare advantage members.