Dental healthcare plan for expats moving to USA

When moving to the USA as a British expat, it is essential to have a good healthcare plan in place to ensure that medical requirements can be met as quickly and easily as possible, without running up huge bills.
Getting access to dental treatment is just as important as finding a good doctor, or knowing where the local hospital is. This helps with continuity of any treatment started in the UK, as well as ensuring ongoing dental healthcare for the whole family.
There are plenty of dentists and dental care specialist across the USA, and they are regulated by the Board of Dentistry or the Board of Dental Examiners for each individual state. When first moving to the country, it is worth locating the nearest dentist that can provide general checkups, as well as more complex treatment. It is also worth being aware of where to go in an emergency.
The American Dental Association website has a handy search tool to find accredited surgeries and dentists in each area, and is a good place to start.

The cost of dental care

First, it is important to note that not all healthcare plans include dental automatically. It is worth reading the terms and being aware of exactly what is included when taking out a new policy. If a healthcare package is being supplied by a new employer, be sure to check whether that plan includes dental or not, as it may be that a top-up is required or a separate policy needed. Dental treatment is not a mandated benefit, so it does not have to be included, and there is no penalty for not having dental cover.
However, not having dental cover means having to find the money to pay for checkups and treatment, which can be quite expensive. Having a dental healthcare plan in place helps to meet these costs and is one less thing to worry about.
It is possible to take out payment plans and loans specifically to cover dental treatment if it is required, which is usually paid over 12 months and can be arranged directly through the surgery.

Things to consider

When looking to take out a dental healthcare plan, there are a couple of things to bear in mind. For example, not all dental plans cover every kind of treatment. Make sure that it’s clear what is and isn’t included, so that there are no nasty surprises further down the line. This should include all regular dental care requirements and some larger-scale dental operations just in case, as well as orthodontics for children who may need braces, for example.
Also, make sure that the whole family is covered by the plan, including children. Sometimes it can be cheaper to take out a family dental plan, so shop around. If dental is included with an employer’s healthcare package, see if that applies just to the employee or to the employee’s family as well, and add extra healthcare plans if needed.