A: A waiting period is the amount of time (usually in months) that a person must wait before that service or treatment will be covered by the insurance policy. Typical waiting periods are 6 months and 12 months.
Example: Some dental policies include a 12 month waiting period for “major” procedures. That means you have to be enrolled in the plan for at least 12 months before the benefits in the plan will cover the procedure. Major procedures typically include crowns, dentures, implants and oral surgery, although they can vary by plan or provider.
How this applies to you: If you or someone on your policy is in need of major treatment before the waiting period is over, you will be expected to pay for the procedure out of pocket, even though the procedure is technically “covered” under the policy. This is why it is important to carefully review the exclusions for each plan. A plan may have a lower monthly premium, but may end up costing you more in the long run because of exclusions like waiting periods.