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New Mexico dental insurance guide
New Mexico’s health insurance marketplace has certified individual and family dental plans from two insurers
New Mexico uses a state-run exchange named BeWellNM for enrollment in certified individual/family dental plans. Unlike most other states’ exchanges (including all states that use HealthCare.gov), beWellnm allows a person with Medicare to enroll in a stand-alone dental plan. beWellnm also allows year-round enrollment in stand-alone dental plans.
Not all insurers that offer medical plans through the New Mexico exchange include pediatric or adult dental coverage with their health plans, but stand-alone plans are available for purchase.
Frequently asked questions about dental coverage in New Mexico
How much does dental insurance cost in New Mexico?
For adults who purchase their own stand-alone or family dental coverage through beWellnm, premiums range from $35 to $86 per month.
IHC Specialty Benefits reports that the average monthly premium for a stand-alone family dental plan sold in New Mexico in 2022 was $59.57.
If a family is purchasing coverage through the health insurance exchange, the premiums associated with pediatric dental coverage may or may not be offset by premium tax credits (premium subsidies). Here’s more about how that works, depending on whether the health plan has integrated pediatric dental benefits.
Are stand-alone pediatric dental plans on the exchange ACA-compliant?
The stand-alone pediatric dental plans available in New Mexico will comply with the ACA’s pediatric dental coverage rules. This means out-of-pocket costs for pediatric dental care will not exceed $375 per child in 2023 (or $750 for all the children on a family’s plan), and there is no cap on medically-necessary pediatric dental benefits.
As is the case for all essential health benefits, the specific coverage requirements for pediatric dental care are guided by the state’s essential health benefits benchmark plan.
The New Mexico benchmark plan includes coverage for both basic and major dental services for children.
Which insurers offer dental coverage through the New Mexico marketplace?
In 2023, two insurers offer stand-alone individual/family dental coverage through the health insurance marketplace in New Mexico. These are dental plans that are not included with a medical plan and must be purchased separately:
- BEST Life
- BCBS of New Mexico (Health Care Service Corporation)
This coverage can be purchased through beWellnm in conjunction with a major medical plan during open enrollment (November 1 to January 15) or during a special enrollment period triggered by a qualifying life event.
But a stand-alone dental plan can be purchased on its own at any time during the year through beWellnm. Exchange-certified stand-alone dental plans are compliant with the ACA’s rules for pediatric dental coverage.
Can I buy dental insurance outside of New Mexico's exchange?
There are also a variety of dental insurers that sell stand-alone dental plans directly to consumers in New Mexico. These plans are not subject to the ACA’s essential health benefit rules for pediatric dental coverage, but they are regulated by the New Mexico Office of Superintendent of Insurance (OSI). If you would like to purchase a non-ACA qualified dental plan, ask a dentist for recommendations or search online.
There are also various dental discount plans available in every state. Dental discount plans are not insurance, but can offer discounted rates at participating dentists. Learn about the differences between dental insurance and dental discount plans.
To find plans in your area, search online for dental discount plans and the state you are looking to buy a plan in.
How does New Mexico Medicaid and CHIP provide dental coverage?
Adults enrolled in Medicaid in New Mexico are eligible for extensive dental services through several health plans offered by the state Medicaid program. Children are also eligible for dental benefits through Centennial Care.
New Mexico has a Medicaid expansion CHIP, which provides dental coverage to uninsured children and pregnant women with with income above the eligibility limits for Medicaid.
Louise Norris is an individual health insurance broker who has been writing about health insurance and health reform since 2006. She has written dozens of opinions and educational pieces about the Affordable Care Act for healthinsurance.org. Her state health exchange updates are regularly cited by media who cover health reform and by other health insurance experts.