AARP

AARP Dental Insurance has plans developed with seniors in mind, so the coverage is robust. Its plans are administered by Delta Dental, a well-regarded provider in the industry.

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7.5
Grand Score
8
User Score
7.5
Grand Score
8
User Score
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As we age, it is very important to pay attention to our dental health, so plans for seniors cover more than plans for younger individuals. Medications needed to maintain our general health can affect our oral health. AARP Dental Insurance is available for members of AARP through its Member Advantages system; all AARP members are guaranteed acceptance. These AARP-endorsed plans are administered by Delta Dental, who has a large network of providers. You can choose to visit network dentists or your own, even if yours is not a network member.

Grandfolk Scoring
Cost 5/10
Deductible 8/10
Co-pay 7/10
Waiting period 5/10
Coverage 9/10
Coverage limits 5/10
Enrollment ease 10/10
Dental access 8/10
Support access 10/10
Payment 10/10
Cost
Monthly premium
Varies by the state of residence
Deductible
Is deductable required?
Yes, $0-$100 depending on plan
Co-pay
Is copay required?
Depends on plan
Waiting period
Service wait period
Basic services available immediately, but 1-year waiting period for services such as crowns, implants and dentures
Coverage
Service coverage
Diagnostic and preventive care; plans cover about 300 types of dental procedures
Coverage limits
Annual maximum coverage
Depending on plan, $1,000-$1,500/year Enroll online, by mail or by phone
Enrollment ease
Ease of enrollment
Enroll online, by mail or by phone
Dental access
Choice of dentists
Can still use current dentist, but depending on plan may pay more if not in the network
Support access
Access to support
Help available 7:00 AM-11:00 PM EST, Mon-Fri and 9:00 AM-5:00 PM EST Sat
Payment
Payments accepted
Check, money order, VISA, MasterCard and American Express
Age Score:
10
50-64 Years
9
65-74 Years
8
75-84 Years
7
85-Older

AARP Dental Insurance was developed specifically for people over 50, so it offers coverage that most seniors need. Acceptance into the plan is guaranteed to members of AARP regardless of age. The service is available through a website which is extremely easy to navigate. Those on the younger side will find it very intuitive and welcoming: instructions and options are clear. For those who are older, negotiating a website and working on a computer may be difficult, especially if cognitive skills and sight are failing. However, there are other ways to sign-up and contact the company, including by telephone.

Health Score:
2
Poor Health
4
Fair Health
8
Good Health
10
Great Health

For seniors who are in very good general health and just want to maintain their oral health, AARP Dental Insurance may be more insurance coverage than they need. Although the plans cover up to three preventive visits per year, they cover much more. All of this makes plans more costly. As we age, our dental needs increase, which means we may need more insurance later in life. On the other hand, if we have been diligent we may not need the amount of coverage provided by these plans. AARP Dental Insurance can be more expensive than other companies, and the cost for those who are more senior will be even higher. The good news is there is no restriction for most pre-existing conditions. Furthermore, premiums do not increase in the first two years.

Pros:

  • AARP Dental Insurance was developed with seniors in mind, so their specific needs are addressed. The plans cover denture repairs, restorations and oral surgery. After one year, the coverage includes treatment for gum disease, dental implants, dentures and TMJ problems. 
  • Plans allow you to access any licensed dentist in the country, even if they are not members of the network. You have the option of visiting any dentist you choose so if you like your current dentist, you can keep your dentist. 
  • There are no exclusions for most pre-existing conditions with the PPO plans. 
  • It offers an online claims tracker as well as a mobile app. Also, you can reach them by telephone almost all day long – 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM EST Mon-Fri and even on Saturdays 9:00 AM-5:00 PM EST.
  • The dentist is paid directly by the company which eliminates the need to pay them up front and deal with paperwork.

Cons:

  • Some services such as dentures, crowns and bridges are not available until after you have had one year of continuous coverage. Therefore, if you already have certain problems, you may not be able to wait.
  • You can use any dentist, but your out-of-pocket costs will be higher if you choose an out-of-network dentist.
  • Premiums are higher than with many other dental insurance carriers. The plans were designed to cover the wider range of senior needs, so they cost more.
  • You must be a member of AARP to enroll. If you aren’t a member, you must join for $16 per year.
  • What is important with complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau is not the actual number, but rather how they are handled. Delta Dental does not appear to make a very proactive effort to resolve the complaints filed with the BBB. 

Bottom Line:

AARP Dental Insurance provides robust policy options specifically developed for those who are over 50, unlike other insurance companies that offer dental insurance. The policies cover many of the dental procedures needed most often by seniors. As a result, the premiums are higher than other companies. For seniors who may have more health or dental needs than most, it is a great value. But for those who have maintained their oral health in the past and who do not foresee needing specialized services, you could be paying for more insurance than you need. AARP Dental Insurance ranks in the top ten best dental insurance companies in the U.S., and AARP is highly regarded for its mission and its focus on supporting seniors in our country. If you find you need dental insurance after retirement, you may find this a perfect fit for your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How quickly can I use this insurance and for what services? Your plan becomes effective on the first day of the month following your enrollment. Basic services, like preventive checkups, cleanings and x-rays, are available immediately. For more involved services, such as dentures, crowns and implants, you need to have one year of continuous coverage before those are covered. 

How do I sign up? It is very easy to enroll. Once you enter your Zip code and age on the company’s website, a quote will be provided. If you have questions or prefer not to sign up online, you can call.

Can I keep my current dentist? Yes, AARP dental plan enrollees have access to any licensed dentist in the United States, including their current dentist. AARP has an extensive network of dentists, so it is likely there is a dentist in its network in your area. However, if you choose a dentist that is not in the network, your out-of-pocket expenses will be higher. 
 

More Information:

Product Details

 
Overview: AARP Dental Insurance offers plans that cover most dental procedures, and you have the freedom to visit any licensed dentist in the country, even if they are not part of the network. Costs vary depending on where you live. Prices are based on the prevailing cost of services in your area.
 
Package Details: AARP Dental Insurance offers two plans – Plan A and Plan B. 

 

Plan A offers diagnostic and preventive care (cleanings, exams, x-rays) up to three times/calendar year, with no deductible. Oral surgery is also covered, including root canals. After one year of continuous coverage, the plan covers periodontics (treatment of gum disease), dentures, crowns, castings and dental implants. There is a $1,500/calendar year maximum benefit. Plan A covers the costs of a dental accident with a $1,000 lifetime maximum. The premium for Plan A is ‘moderate.' Rates are guaranteed for the first two years.

Plan B is similar with some variances. It offers diagnostic and preventive care three times/year as with Plan A, but you will need to pay a 20% co-pay. You may also visit any licensed dentist as with Plan A. The one-year waiting period applies to this plan for the services mentioned above. The calendar year maximum benefit is $1,000, slightly lower than for Plan A, and Plan B does not cover dental accidents. The premium for Plan B is lower, but the co-pays are higher for some basic and preventive services. 

Other Services: AARP also offers a prepaid plan called DeltaCare USA. Costs are predictable, and there is no annual maximum, no co-pay and no waiting period. However, you must visit a dentist that is a member of the network. Choosing an out-of-network dentist results in receiving no benefit. Also, there are no exclusions for pre-existing conditions. 

Additional Company Details

Contract Details: Some dental services are not covered by AARP dental insurance plans.  Therefore, it is wise to be clear about exactly what is covered and what is not before signing a contract for coverage. Canceling the policy entails calling Delta Dental and speaking with a representative. In many cases, you cannot just send a letter or email. Follow the instructions given by the representative. Request a reimbursement for the time left on your policy. If you have concerns, you should contact the regulator of insurance in your state’s government.

Warranty:  Your satisfaction is guaranteed. If you are not completely satisfied with the plan, the company will provide a full refund within the first 30 days as long as no benefits have been used.

Accreditations: AARP and its affiliates are not insurers. AARP endorses the plan, but it is administered by Delta Dental Insurance Company, who pays royalty fees to AARP for the use of its intellectual property. Delta Dental has not received accreditation by the Better Business Bureau but shows a poor rating on the BBB website. While companies servicing a very large number of individuals might have a seemingly high numbers of complaints, most indicative is how the company resolves the complaints. There does not appear to be a proactive effort by Delta Dental to resolve the complaints filed with the BBB.
 
Company Details: AARP is a non-profit organization that is well-known for its fight to support the rights of older Americans. The organization was founded in 1958 by Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, a retired school principal, in response to the need for health insurance for older Americans. The organization’s mission is to promote independence, dignity and purpose for older persons, to enhance the quality of life and encourage older people “To serve, not to be served.” The organization currently has over 38 million members.

Contact:

 
In addition to the main national office, there is an AARP office in each U.S. State. The number should be in your local telephone directory.

 

AARP’s main office address is:
601 E. Street NW
Washington, DC 20049
Telephone: 866-583-2085 (for dental insurance questions) 
Email: member@aarp.org  

Donna McDurfee - Senior Advisor

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