Choosing a dental plan to protect your health next year

By Karyn Glogowski

Senior Vice President, Delta Dental of Illinois

Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, your priorities and those of your family may have changed. Wellness benefits may be even more important than ever before. It’s time to begin looking forward to a healthy 2021.

Many Illinoisans are choosing benefits for next year. Did you know that dental coverage can play a key role in maintaining good oral health and overall well-being? In a recent Delta Dental poll, Americans said two top reasons for having dental coverage include how it encourages better oral health habits (86%) and helps lead to a healthy lifestyle (86%).1

To be sure you select the coverage you’ll need to protect you and your family, here are four things to consider:

  1. Take advantage of this once-a-year opportunity.

Open enrollment usually comes 30 to 90 days before your new plan takes effect. Now is the time to learn more about your benefits and make changes— including adding dental coverage if you don’t have it.

Do your homework about what’s available and what may have changed from last year. The only other time you’ll likely be able to make a change to your benefits is if you’ve had a qualifying life event, such as a marriage, divorce, birth of a baby, move or job change.

If you receive dental benefits through your employer, the process will likely look a little different this year. With many people still working from home, nearly 2 of 3 employers say their companies will rely more heavily on online resources for open enrollment.2

  1. Enjoy peace of mind knowing your health and wallet are protected.

More than ever, taking care of your health is a priority. Dental coverage helps ensure your overall well-being because research has shown a connection between your oral and overall health.

With a focus on preventive care, dental plans typically cover 100% of routine checkups, cleanings and exams. During an exam, dentists can detect the signs of more than 120 diseases — including heart disease, diabetes and oral cancer — which have symptoms that appear in the mouth.3

Getting regular preventive care can help you avoid more serious health issues and bigger bills down the road. In fact, 4 of 5 Americans (80%) say having dental coverage saves them money in the long run.4

  1. Consider your changing oral health needs.

Since you usually can’t alter your dental plan throughout the year, consider what changes you and your family may be undergoing and how that may affect which dental plan you choose for the coming year.

For example, is your family growing? Pregnancy may increase the likelihood of cavities and gum disease. Good oral health care is vital to ensure the best health outcomes for both mother and baby. 

Are you retired, or does your employer not offer dental coverage? You can still seek coverage through an individual plan that meets your needs and budget.

  1. Choose a flexible plan with a strong nationwide network.

If given a choice of dental carriers, choose one with a strong nationwide network. This will give you the most flexibility in choosing a dentist who has agreed to pre-negotiated rates and protections offered by your carrier.

Dig into the details and be sure to find out which procedures will be covered by your dental plan and what you’ll be responsible for paying out of pocket as a copay or deductible. Be sure to check whether a dental plan has a waiting period before certain services are covered. And once you’re enrolled, choose an in-network dentist to save the most money.

For more information about dental coverage and how to make the most of your dental benefits, visit

About Delta Dental of Illinois

Delta Dental is the national dental benefits leader covering 1 in 3 Americans who have dental coverage. Delta Dental of Illinois is one of 39 member companies that make up the national Delta Dental system. Based in Naperville, Illinois, Delta Dental of Illinois provides dental benefit programs to more than 6,000 Illinois companies and covers 2 million individuals, employees and family members nationwide. Delta Dental of Illinois is committed to improving oral health in our community and furthers this commitment through the work of Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation.

1 2020 Delta Dental Adult’s Oral Health & Well-Being Survey

2 Hartford’s Future of Benefits Study

3 U.S. Surgeon General Report on Oral Health 2000 – Chapter 3 – Diseases and Disorders

4 2020 Delta Dental Adult’s Oral Health & Well-Being Survey