Get the most out of your benefits. Find out what various dental words mean.
The total dollar amount that a plan will pay for dental care for an individual member or family member (under a family plan) for a specified benefit period, typically a calendar year.
Assignment of Benefits
When a member authorizes the dental plan to forward payment for a covered procedure directly to a member’s dentist.
When a participating dentist bills a member for amounts disallowed by Delta Dental that are also not allowed to be charged to the member. Participating dentists agree to accept the fee approved by Delta Dental as payment in full and cannot bill a member for any difference.
The 12-month period a member’s dental plan covers, which is not always a calendar year.
A booklet from Delta Dental that explains a member’s benefits coverage in detail.
Information a dentist submits to the dental plan to get paid for services performed for a member. A dentist is responsible for the accuracy of all information on a claim form.
The fee for each single procedure that a dentist has agreed to accept as payment in full for covered services provided to a member.
Coordination of Benefits (COB)
When a member has more than one dental plan, this is the process that the plans use to determine the amount that each will pay.
A dental treatment for which payment is provided under the terms of a member’s dental plan.
A process designed to ensure a dentist is properly trained and licensed to treat members before becoming a part of a Delta Dental network. This includes the review of documentation pertaining to a dentist, including verification of licenses, specialty certification, malpractice insurance, infection control procedures, and OSHA requirements.
A dollar amount that each member must pay toward covered services before Delta Dental’s benefits are paid. This is often referred to as the member’s out-of-pocket costs.
Anyone other than the primary member that is covered by a dental plan. This could be a child or spouse.
When a member has coverage under two different dental plans. Primary and secondary carriers must coordinate the two plans.
The date the coverage under a dental plan begins.
Dental services that are not covered by a dental plan.
Explanation of Benefits (EOB)
A paper or electronic document provided by Delta Dental detailing the dental treatments and services that were paid for on a member’s behalf. It is different from a bill.
A company or organization that provides dental plans to its employees. The group works with Delta Dental to select the plan type, maximums, benefit levels, and member eligibility.
A list of charges for specific dental treatments used to reimburse dentists on a fee-for-service basis.
The “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996,” a Federal law intended to improve access to health coverage, limit fraud and abuse, protect personal health information, and control administrative costs. See the Administrative Simplification section of the Department of Health and Human Services’ web site for more information at
A dentist who has agreed to be a part of Delta Dental’s network and accept pre-established fees for his or her professional dental services.
Limitations usually refer to frequency limits, for example how many times a member can have a cleaning in one year.
The maximum amount a plan will pay over the course of a lifetime. It may apply to an individual or a family and typically applies to specific treatments such as orthodontic treatment
Maximum Plan Allowance (MPA)
The maximum amount Delta Dental will reimburse providers.
National Provider Identifier (NPI)
A unique identification number used to identify a health care professional as an alternative to their dental license number.
An individual who has signed up for dental coverage from Delta Dental directly or through a Group.
Consists of participating dentists who have signed up with Delta Dental to provide dental treatment within certain administrative guidelines at agreed-upon fees.
The period of the year during which employees or qualified individuals can enroll in or make changes to their benefits plan.
A dentist who has not signed up to participate in a Delta Dental network.
Protected Health Information (PHI)
Personal information such as medical history, which is required to be stored securely by a health care entity.
A treatment plan usually submitted by a dentist for Delta Dental to review and provide an estimate of benefits before treatment starts. This can help a member budget for dental procedures and decide how to proceed with treatment.
Internally developed policies used as a tool and guide to determine coverage for members. Processing policies are continually reviewed and updated to reflect current information. If a processing policy is applied to a billed serviced, it will be explained in your Explanation of Benefits (EOB).
The date a member’s dental coverage ends or when a member is no longer eligible for benefits.
A period of time before a member is eligible to receive benefits for all or certain treatments. It typically applies to expensive services such as dentures or crowns.
Please call Customer Service toll-free at 888-217-2365. They’re available Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time.