The dental plans offered by Extend Health are just about the worst plans in the marketplace. Even some of the EH agents have told retirees what EH offers stinks! That's not to say other plans in the marketplace are much better. It seems the one AARP offers is the best of the lot but even then - the premiums are high and they will only cover cleanings and simple fillings for the first 6 months you own the policy. So, if a tooth fails you are SOL to have it fixed before June. And it caps at $1500 payout for the year. 12/6/13 - I just saw that EH added two plans offered by MetLife but I don't think these offerings are "offering" much. It is also very frustrating that we find out what EH is selling by word of mouth or going onto their site. Once enrolled, who'd want to go back and keep checking the EH site to see what else is being sold!
Someone just told me about a group plan that is interesting ---- IF your dentist accepts it (mine accepts no plan). You pay Cigna a flat fee for the year (something like $130) to become a member of Cigna's dental insurance group. That entitles you to get the Cigna negotiated dentist rates from a dentist in their network. You pay the dentist whatever the negotiated rate is for a given procedure. For example, if a typical cleaning is $120 but the Cigna rate is $90 that's what you will pay the dentist - again, only if the dentist accepts the plan.
If you want to know more about the Cigna plan go to www.dentalplus.com
There is another website that describes the myriad of dental insurance plans available to individuals but, as I said, none are particularly great --- http://www.insurancecompany.com.
I already posted a blog entry about the VA dental plans available if you or your spouse are veterans. They are the best plans I have seen so far because they are group dental insurance plans. It turns out they are available no matter what your income level as long as you served in the military and enrolled in the VA health system before 2004. After that time, if you try to enroll the VA will not even let you register in the VA health system if your income is too high (over approximately $50,000 annually - it depends on your zip code). There is also a dental plan for veterans of foreign wars who were in combat that does not appear to be income based. However, you must prove you were in combat.
It's a pity that IBM wouldn't even give us the option to buy into the MetLife group plan since they had to know the individual dental plans stink. I am not surprised - just continue to be disappointed in IBM.
I, personally, will skip buying dental insurance and basically self insure for as long as I can afford to use my existing dentist.