The Best Dental Insurance in Canada for 2021
Dental appointments can be very, very expensive, and no one wants to pay for them out of pocket. You can significantly soften the blow by being part of a dental insurance plan either as an individual or through your employer.
The number of insurance companies in Canada offering both group and individual dental insurance is quite extensive with so many different levels of coverage that one has to wonder where to start.
In this Wealth Rocket article, we’ll cover the best dental insurance providers in Canada, with further information covering how shopping for dental insurance works. We'll also provide additional context to help you make sure you're getting the best dental insurance available.
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The Best Dental Insurance in Canada for 2021
Below are some of the biggest and best dental insurance providers in Canada. You will also find a brief summary of what each insurance company offers.
Manulife is one of the most well-established and largest insurance companies in Canada. It offers dental insurance as part of group employee benefits through employers and as part of individual private insurance plans.
Manulife also underwrites dental plans for Costco Members. They are probably most known for their CoverMe individual health and dental plans, which come in FlexCare (plans where you can select your coverage according to your needs) and FollowMe (guaranteed coverage with no medical questions if you apply up to 90 days after leaving your job or retiring) varieties.
They also have a rewards program called Vitality where the healthier you are, the more you can earn rewards like gift cards to various retailers and discounts to your health and dental plan.
2.Canada Protection Plan
Canada Protection Plan offers health and dental plans underwritten by Manulife
As a result, they also offer the same FlexCare and FollowMe plans as Manulife, but they also offer plans for professional associations and small businesses. These plans come in eight different types and can offer comprehensive coverage sooner than individual plans.
3. Sun Life
Sun Life is one of the largest life insurance companies in Canada. But even though they are primarily known for life insurance, they do offer dental insurance as part of a group health and dental plan for employers or individual Extended Health and Dental insurance through SunAffinity.
To be eligible for coverage you must be under 70, have provincial health coverage, and live in any Canadian province except Quebec.
Dental insurance with Sun Life is available in basic, standard, or enhanced varieties, so you can pick the coverage that suits your needs.
Plus, you can manage it all, including filing a claim, through the My Sun Life mobile app. Their dental plan covers you up to $750 per year for preventive care with 60% reimbursement for basic, 70% for standard, and 80% for enhanced. Enhanced also covers restorative care ($500 a year) and orthodontics.
4. Blue Cross
Blue Cross is an association of regional not-for-profit insurance providers called The Canadian Association of Blue Cross Plans.
Its dental plan is split into basic or enhanced. Enhanced includes everything under the basic plan (70% up to $750 a year) plus major restorative services and 70% up to $750 in the first year, 75% up to $1,000 in the second year, and 80% up to $1,250 thereafter.
To be eligible, you just have to be 16 or over.
5. Green Shield Canada (SureHealth)
Green Shield is Canada’s only national not-for-profit insurance provider and they underwrite SureHealth. Though Blue Cross is also non-for-profit, they're not available in every province and territory.
SureHealth offers individual health and dental plans that are split into two types: Link, designed for those whose employee health benefits are ending or have ended, and Zone, for those who’ve never had supplemental health coverage before, or not for a while.
Zone offers 7 different oral health coverage options for different families, different priorities, and different budgets. Zone 2 and 3 are the 100% dental plans with no drug coverage and have escalating pricing for things like cleanings, checkups, fillings, root canals, and scaling.
Zone fundamental also includes prescription drugs along with dental and all three of these plans have guaranteed acceptance.
There are four link plans, they all have guaranteed acceptance and Link 2 offers just dental coverage while Link 3 and 4 offer drug coverage and expanded dental coverage.
6. Canada Life
Canada Life offers both group health and dental benefits for employees and individual plans divided according to whether you’re between group plans or self-employed and ineligible for group insurance.
Their PlanDirect plan for individuals ineligible for group plans is split into three coverage types: Core, CorePlus, and Elite.
Generally, they have a $25 deductible to a maximum of $50 per calendar year, 80% reimbursement for endodontic, periodontal, oral surgery services, and other routine services, $750 per person per calendar year, and 100% reimbursement for accidental injury to natural teeth.
7. Empire Life
Empire Life offers dental coverage as part of its group benefits plans for employees.
Employers can fully customize the plan for their employees including a nice range of maximums and covered services.
Coverage ranges from basic dental care, periodontic/endodontic, major restorative, and orthodontic services.
Employers can also allow a Dental Flex option, which gives employees the freedom to choose how they spend their dental benefit within a predetermined maximum set by the employer.
Desjardins offers both individual and group dental plans at the typical basic and enhanced levels of coverage.
Enhanced includes orthodontic treatments, which is rare for a dental plan. Normally orthodontic treatments aren’t available until the most expensive third level of coverage on other plans.
9. Alliance Financial
Alliance Financial offers dental coverage as part of its group benefits product for employers. Dental care is grouped with vision care.
The plan covers the member or the member's family for preventative care, basic care, major care, and orthodontic care.
It accommodates employee pools for small businesses of 20 to 49 employees and larger companies of employees over 52 employees.
They also offer an option called Cost Plus An option, which makes it possible to offer certain employees the reimbursement of medical expenses that are not eligible under the basic contract, without having to extend the benefit to all employees.
10. Equitable Life
Equitable Life has tried to build lots of flexibility and options to their plans, so employees have lots of choices for any coverage type and budget.
Under Equitable Life's coverage umbrella, diagnostic services, preventive services, restorative services, major dental surgical coverage, periodontal services, endodontic services, denture repairs, and adult and child orthodontic service options are available.
Plans are constructed to fit any combination of deductibles and reimbursement levels.
What is Dental Insurance?
Dental insurance in Canada covers the cost of dental treatments not covered by traditional provincial health insurance. Dental insurance pays for most of the cost of the dentist bill, allowing for fewer out-of-pocket expenses for the insurance holder.
How Does Dental Insurance Work?
Dental insurance is offered as part of a supplemental individual plan either for those who are self-employed and therefore not eligible for group dental benefits through their employer or for people who recently were taken off their employer's group insurance plan.
It’s also available through group dental benefit plans available through an employer to their employees.
The plans themselves are further divided into two or three coverage levels (even more could be offered by group plans) which will cover your dental treatments up to a certain maximum dollar amount per year and a certain percentage of the total cost per treatment.
The remaining cost per treatment isn’t covered and is called “the deductible.” It is paid by the plan holder directly in an individual plan and by the employer when the plan holder is part of a group plan.
Premiums are paid monthly, and the cost is more expensive or cheaper depending on the amount of coverage with an individual plan and comes out of the employee’s paycheque every two weeks when they’re part of a group plan.
More and more plans both group and individual offer a flex option, which allows plan holders to choose what they want to be covered in their plan up to a maximum dollar amount of coverage. Plan holders can also cover their spouse and child.
What Does Dental Insurance Cover?
Depending on what plan level you choose, (typically basic, standard, or enhanced, or just basic and enhanced) your plan could cover various dental treatments, with more complex and more expensive treatments being covered the better the option you chose.
Dental treatments could include, but are not limited to:
- Diagnostic services
- Preventative services
- Restorative services
- Major dental surgical coverage
- Periodontal services
- Endodontic services
- Denture repairs
- Adult and child orthodontic service options
Usually, diagnostic, preventative, and restoration services are part of the basic and standard versions of the plan with major dental surgery, periodontal, and endodontic services added as part of the enhanced or comprehensive final levels.
Not all plans offer denture repair or orthodontic services, but when they are offered, they’re usually part of the highest level of coverage.
Our Final Thoughts
Dental coverage isn’t provided by provincial health insurance plans, so whether you get it through an employer’s group plan or you sign up for a supplemental individual plan, it is necessary so you’re not paying such a ridiculous amount out of pocket when you go to the dentist.
Most plans are structured pretty much the same way but make sure you get the most amount of coverage for your budget that you are comfortable with.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, as long as you choose a plan where you receive reimbursement for the majority of your annual expenses while receiving the treatments you need.
You don’t want to be paying a deductible that’s higher than what’s being reimbursed, or that you need to restrict or limit your treatments to be able to afford your plan.
The devil is in the details and even though the premiums may be higher, comprehensive coverage will always do more to benefit you and your family in the long run.
Yes, as long as the expenses it covers would be eligible for the Medical Expenses Tax Credit and are part of an insurance plan and not some other kind of contract.
Currently, 90% of the expenses covered have to be eligible for the Medical Expenses Tax Credit, but 10% don’t have to be.
This policy is looser than ones that have existed in the past when 100% of the expenses were required to qualify for the Medical Expenses Tax Credit.
Plans paid for by your employer, such as a group insurance plan, aren’t eligible as tax-deductible health expenses.
Yes! As long as you are not already a beneficiary on an existing dental plan, you are enrolled at the college or university and you already have a provincial health card, you can qualify for dental coverage provided by your university or college either through the student union or the school itself.
The coverage varies but is usually pretty comprehensive and you are eligible for as long as you’re enrolled in the university as a full-time student.