The Benefits of Love: COBs and your Dental Plan

February 05, 2015

Valentine’s Day is a time to rejoice the love in your life. Whether you spend it with your spouse or entire family, love is certainly in the air every February 14th.

Many of us share more than just memories and affection with our significant other – we share benefits. Hugs, kisses and dental… dental benefits, to be specific. If your family has more than one dental plan, it’s referred to as a coordination of benefits (COB).

Here’s how a COB works:

If you have 2 jobs that both provide dental benefits, or if you are covered by a second dental plan, your benefit plans will “coordinate” your coverage. The 2 plans work together to make sure you get the most out of your dental benefits. You’ll likely have lower out-of-pocket costs for your dental care.

One plan becomes your primary plan -- it pays your claims first. The second plan then pays toward the remaining cost. 

When both plans have COB provisions, the plan where you’re listed as the main policyholder is primary. The plan where you’re listed as a dependent serves as the secondary.

Consider this quick example:

Let’s say you visit the dentist to fill a cavity. The office will send the bill to your primary dental plan. If that plan covers fillings at 80%, and it was a $100 filling, the plan will pay your dentist $80. Normally, you would owe $20. But, since you have more than one dental plan, you can send the dentist’s bill to your secondary plan. Then, the second company will pay the remaining claim balance.

If the second plan covers fillings at 80%, and it was a $100 filling, it would have paid your dentist $80 if you had no other coverage. However, since you have other coverage, it will pay the remainder. So, the second company will pay your dentist the remaining $20.

If you’re lucky enough to share your life with someone, you can share your dental benefits too. You might even end up saving money thanks to COBs. To find out if your plan has COB coverage, sign in and review your plan details.

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