Guardian Dental Insurance Review

5/5

Guardian Dental is known as a company with a long-standing history, providing insurance since its founding in 1860. They have served over 20 million consumers, of which more than seven million of them have been for dental insurance. The growth and success of the company has seen it become a Fortune 250 company.

Guardian Dental Direct prides itself on affordable rates with a quality service. They succinctly describe their aim as helping to ‘protect your dental health while also protecting your wallet.’

Why do people have dental insurance?

When people hear the phrase ‘dental insurance’, you cannot help but have words and phrases come into your mind such as difficult, expensive and is it that necessary? But there are reasons why millions of consumers choose dental insurance. Of the many reasons available, three commonly accepted reasons are:

  • Your health – Apart from just strengthening your dental health, problems such as untreated gum disease have been linked to both strokes and heart disease.
  • Cost effective – The insurance you pay provides coverage for an assortment of dental treatments on offer.
  • If you fail to prepare then prepare to fail – You never know when something may happen, and you require dental assistance. It is better to be prepared for this possible situation than suffer as a result of your lack of preparation.

Background on Guardian Dental

The reach that Guardian Dental have is a major factor in their past and continued success. They cover more than 360,000 locations nationwide and have a network of more than 100,000 participating dentists.

You can take advantage of in-network dentists who have contractual agreements with Guardian Dental to provide dental care at affordable rates. These services can see you make 35% savings on standard dental services.

See below an example of the average cost of a root canal, associated dental work and crown, and the amount you might save according to Guardian:

Cost with No Dental InsuranceCost with Guardian Dental InsuranceEstimated Saving with a Guardian In-Network Dentist
$2400$1600$800

How do you find the right plan for you?

To help you find a suitable option, Guardian Dental allows you to narrow down your search according to either your ZIP code, a certain dentist or a tailored dental plan.

One positive from searching this way is that you can do so anonymously, so you are not signing yourself up to any unwanted spam.

Once you have signed up, you receive an ID card within 7-10 days of enrolment.

A service for you, encouraging your freedom

At Guardian Dental their whole ethos is to help provide affordable care and a high-quality service, however they also understand that an affordable service does not mean everyone can easily have access to it. As a result, to make the process as smooth and comfortable as possible for consumers, they offer the following options:

  • Frequency of payment – you can pay monthly, quarterly or annually.
  • Method of payment – you can pay by credit card, debit card, check or bank draft.

In addition, Guardian Dental also appreciate that in life, events occur and changes in circumstance will happen. To help accommodate this, the Guardian Dental Advantage (Gold, Silver and Bronze) plans allow for you to change your dentist as often as you wish. The Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DentalGuard) also allows for change and this will come to fruition on the first day of the next month.

Plans offered by Guardian Dental

You can break down the insurance plans in to two categories:

Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO)

With this option, you pay a monthly premium based on the dental services used. Referrals to a specialist require pre-approval from Guardian and there is no out-of-network dentist coverage. Guardian Dental’s DHMO consists of 52,000 locations with 12,000 dentists.

There is no annual maximum and no deductibles providing you stay with your primary dental care provider. Guardian pays the difference between the total cost of dental services and your office visit charge and co-payment. There are no forms to submit and no waiting periods.

See below costs for an individual in the following sample areas with a DHMO plan:

LocationDHMO Plan
Houston, Texas$9.39 per month
Orlando, Florida$8.06 per month
Chicago, Illinois$15.12 per month
Brooklyn, New York$15.71 per month

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)

By paying a monthly premium with PPO, you are covered for a percentage of dental costs. Members pay a deductible. You can obtain savings of up to 35% and you will not be charged more than the contracted rate (even if the dentist’s normal rate is higher) by an in-network dentist. Guardian Dental’s PPO has 363,000 locations with 124,000 dentists.

In-network dentists send claim forms on your behalf. You also have the option to select an out-of-network dentist, but you may be charged regular rates and Guardian will only subsidize the standard amount (according to them), so you may end up being responsible for the difference.

There is no deductible for preventative care when using an in-network dentist and $50 deductible for all other dental care. There is a maximum dollar pay-out annually which rises annually. Waiting periods vary according to the service provided.

See below costs for an individual in the following sample areas with a PPO plan:

LocationAdvantage GoldAdvantage SilverAdvantage Bronze
Beverly Hills, California$51.59 per month$35.44 per month$26.59 per month
Houston, Texas$33.70 per month$23.58 per month$17.68 per month
Orlando, Florida$32.68 per month$22.84 per month
Atlanta, Georgia$34.38 per month$24.05 per month$18.04 per month
Chicago, Illinois$37.49 per month$26.65 per month$19.99 per month
Brooklyn, New York$45.17 per month$31.03 per month$23.27 per month
BenefitsFor those who want maximum coverage offeredFor those needing dental work on more than just the occasionFor those who only need cleaning and the occasional filling

Why is Guardian Dental an attractive prospect?

There are numerous reasons for why so many consumers have and continue to seek coverage via Guardian Dental. Below is just a selection of the reasons why they are continually chosen for their service:

  • Guardian Dental covers a large network over a lot of nationwide locations.
  • No sign-up fees.
  • Preventative care is extremely affordable.
  • Guardian makes it easy to estimate costs of procedures with their cost calculator.
  • Diverse payment options by both frequency and method of payment.
  • People on the policy are not restricted to using the same dentist.
  • Claims are paid efficiently (on average between two and fifteen days).
  • No forms to fill in for a claim.
  • Ease of cancellation.

What to be aware of with Guardian Dental

Although Guardian has a rich history in the service it provides, it does not mean that there are no drawbacks. Carefully consider the list below to fully understand whether Guardian Dental is right for you:

  • The Affordable Care Act subsidized plans are only available in 20 states.
  • Plans vary from state to state so you must conduct thorough research before enrolling for a plan.
  • If you decide to cancel your plan and wish to re-join, you must wait twelve months before you are eligible to do so.

A quality reputation

Having accreditation from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is always preferable for a company in this industry. Thankfully, Guardian Dental passes this test with flying colours having an ‘A+’ rating.

How does cancellation work?

A big selling point of Guardian Dental is the freedom it provides to its consumers and cancelling a plan with them is no different. If you decide at any time to cancel, you can. The termination itself will become effective from the last day of the current month or the last day of the month for which the premium has been paid.

Although it is a wanted luxury being able to cancel at any time, if you do decide to do it, you are restricted from joining a Guardian Dental plan for twelve months.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA)

In line with requirements under the ACA, all of Guardian’s plan include the paediatric dental essential health benefit.

Insurance underwritten

At Guardian Dental, all individual dental insurance products are underwritten by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America or one of its wholly owned subsidiaries.

Conclusion

Guardian Dental has a much-admired history and a reputation which is difficult for other providers to match. Whilst focusing on affordability and service, Guardian Dental have not forgotten that a key attraction for consumers is freedom and you will see that freedom for the consumer is evident throughout their plans and how they operate. By choosing a PPO you can see any dentist whereas a DHMO requires you to only see the dentist selected but you may receive greater savings. If you are requiring a bespoke plan or your needs may change in the future, then Guardian Dental may be the right option for you.