Dental Insurance for Seniors on Medicare…sadly, is very limited at best. Medicare Dental coverage is almost nonexistent and that is a real problem.
How many times did your mom or dad ask you as a child… “did you brush your teeth?” How many times did you hear the hygienist at the dentist office ask “have you been flossing? Your gums are bleeding.”
Most of us have been brought up with the idea that we need to take good care of our teeth. All of this advice is certainly very important, especially as we get older. As we age, dental issues become a greater challenge to stay on top of. In general, dental care expenses in most cases will rise. Here are a few of the common problems that seniors can experience, according to the National Institute of Health:
- Gum disease
- Tooth loss
- Oral cancer
- Facial pain
This list doesn’t even cover all of the the diseases that can be caused by dental problems. There is evidence that it can lead to an increased risk of cancer or heart disease, not to mention embarrassment and lack of self confidence from missing teeth that inhibit a confident smile.
Now the trouble is…
While Medicare covers a lot of healthcare issues, it does not cover most dental care. For more information on your possible alternatives read this article.
Now, Medicare will cover care if you sustain a broken jaw if you are in an accident, but not the actual cleaning or tooth extraction.
Does Medicare pay for dentures?
No. Sorry to say…dentures are not covered.
So what you have as a recipient is very limited and not well rounded and/or preventative dental care.
Best Medicare Dental Plans? What Are Your Medicare Dental Plan Options?
Bad news here folks!! If your looking for the best dental insurance for seniors on Medicare, you need to look at private insurance plans.
Original Medicare does not offer typical dental coverage. However, some folks choose Medicare Advantage (Part C of Medicare) which may include some respectable dental benefits in HMO and PPO networks.
A little off topic but Medicare Advantage is not traditional Medicare.
Yes, I know it sounds like it but actually…
It is a privately administered health care coverage offered by insurance companies as an alternative to Original Medicare. If chosen by you at AEP or OEP, your Medicare premiums that are deducted from your Social Security payment are all sent to the private, Medicare Advantage provider you have chosen. Medicare is not keeping monies for coverage as they would under “Original Medicare.”
Tuck that you red, white and blue Medicare card away in a safe spot, but you will not need it unless you are on Original Medicare.
Since Medicare Advantage plans are different, private Medicare Advantage insurance companies may or may not offer quality dental coverage in the private programs they have created. You would have to check within the benefits coordinator of the plan to verify. Be sure to review all benefits and limitations built into a Medicare Advantage plan.
As a senior, Original Medicare offers broader based healthcare from providers, but it is not without some limitations, even if you have a Medicare Supplement. Medicare Supplements only benefit you if Medicare approves the claim first.
Having access to the top providers under Original Medicare stil does come with some sacrifice. Original Medicare has 3 main weaknesses: Dental, Vision and Hearing benefits. A Medicare Supplement make no difference.
For those who have elected to go the Medicare Advantage (MA) route, you may have a few perks that pick up some of your dental insurance needs.
Be sure to look at the extent of the dental coverage though. Don’t assume anything. It may not be the best by any means. There are no Medicare guidelines for dental care in a MA offering.
Does it cover majors such as crowns and/root canals or just items like cleanings and x-rays? If so, how much?
Dentures, a major… that is something to verify as well.
So Where Does This Leave You For Dental Insurance?
The good news is that affordable and arguably the best dental insurance for seniors on Medicare is not hard to obtain. This type of traditional insurance will cover the preventative items such as cleaning or basic services as well as the major services.
The top offerings will also include vision and hearing coverage and allow you to see any provider you wish rather than a network provider. As a senior you realize that all of these tend to deteriorate with age and qualified care is often needed.
Until the government takes some real action (don’t hold your breath), taking steps to resolve your dental coverage needs might make some sense.
On the plus side, many Medicare Advantage plans include dental coverage as part of the program. Be sure to verify the limitations though.
So, as a senior, the choices you have…either your on Original Medicare which offers full control of your healthcare providers or a private network (PPO, HMO) managed by a for profit insurance company such as Humana, United Health Care etc. This is NOT Medicare Supplementation.
If you are on Original Medicare (largest majority of people) then you may already know that Medicare is not your “dental, vision and hearing coverage.”
Even if you are or will be receiving dental care through a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan, you still may find you are better off with a private dental plan.
What specific dental services are covered in your Medicare Advantage plan?
Does it provide other valuable services like Vision and Hearing in the coverage?
I’m On A Fixed Income. What Are My Options
The Best Dental Insurance For Seniors On Medicare
Quality senior dental insurance will deliver extensive coverage you can use for cleanings, fillings, x-rays, crowns etc. It will be traditional policy that the covered individual can go to any provider of their choosing. You should expect a good senior dental policy will include:
- Preventive services – Semi Annual exams, cleaning and x-ray services
- Basic services -Additional X-ray, filling and tooth extractions
- Major services – Crowns, bridges, full or partial dentures and root canals
While cleaning and x-ray coverage is nice, that is a small cost relative to the others. A crown can be $1000 quite easily. Make sure your insurance has you covered especially if you have had your share of dental problems in the past.
The best dental insurance for seniors will not discriminate on your dental history or the provider you would like to go to.
In summary, you have a couple of different options to obtain the best dental insurance plans for seniors:
- Medicare Advantage (MA) plans (Part C of Medicare)
- An individual private insurance company policy.
Option 2 has nothing to do with Medicare and is most often superior. Which one is best for you is going to be tied directly to your healthcare values and financial position.
In terms of the best dental insurance for seniors, we utilize 3 typical carriers. How ever, it really depends upon what you want from your coverage.
Review and take note of all the coverage you have now.
- Is there an out-of-pocket maximum?
- Is there an annual maximum benefit?
- What is the waiting period for services?
- What services are covered in the first year?
You will want to know:
- What is the monthly cost?
- Do I have a deductible? If so, how much?
- Is there co-insurance (i.e., the cost of a procedure)?
- What is the co-pay?
What If the Best Dental For Seniors Included Full Coverage For Vision and Hearing?
The top dental insurers are offering full vision and hearing insurance packaged in one premium insurance policy now. These policies allow access to a pool of money that can be applied to either dental, vision and hearing interchangeably throughout the year. Eye glasses and hearing aids are not cheap. Having coverage for all 3 in a very affordable policy really does round out most seniors insurance needs when combined with Medicare and a Medicare Supplement.
The Next Steps
The question of dental coverage under Medicare comes up in Congress every now and then. It has not gained very much traction. Right now only “medically necessary” services are covered.
An example… if you need dental services before radiation treatment for mouth (oral) cancer, you may qualify. Otherwise, your options under Medicare are very, very limited.
However, you don’t let your dental health go down the tubes.
You can still obtain very good senior dental insurance outside your Medicare plan that even includes vision and hearing coverage.
Check with us regarding the options in your state. Not all policies are available in every state so I cannot mention a specific products here. Give us a call, we can talk about your needs and get you a quotation.
Unless you have very deep pockets, the first step to managing the cost of the best dental insurance is making sure you are not being overcharged on other insurance. Examine what you are paying for your insurance portfolio. Homeowners or renters, automobile and even your health insurance.
Do you have a Medicare Supplement insurance plan? What plan letter is it? When was the last time a professional shopped it for you?
Of course, if you don’t have a Medigap plan, none of this is relevant to you so you may disregard my coaching here.
Our experience for roughly 20 years…
We see seniors being taken advantage of all the time on Medigap plans. The sales person who sold it to them worked for one company or the policy owner bought it when he or she turned 65. Many folk have stuck with it for years wondering if they should change companies to save money. Be sure you are not overpaying for your Medicare Supplemental insurance and other forms of insurance.
Most seniors we work with are on a fixed income. Are you in that situation yourself? Can you afford to pay hundreds of extra dollars a year for the same thing? Do you really want the best dental insurance for seniors? Saving money on your other insurance is a simple way of funding a good dental plan that even includes vision and hearing!! You can expect a ballpark cost to be about $50/mo per person, depending on your age and state of course…if you want the best.
I have a question for you.
Would you pay 20 cents more per gallon at the Shell gas station versus the Marathon station a mile down the road? Remember, it is the same quality gas going in the tank after all.
Moral of the story…One of the easiest ways to save money on insurance as a senior is to change your Medicare Supplement insurance to another company. All you need to know is the plan letter…Plan F, Plan G, Plan N etc. and you can shop for lower rates on the same thing…just like the gas station down the road!!
Don’t be caught up in the hype of one company pays better than another. The Federal and state government mandates the performance of the standardized supplemental plans. All plans are controlled by Medicare since 1992.
Buying into hogwash dcan empty your bank account, slowly but surely.
Be mindful and astute about these costs and how they may effect you now and for the future. This is business. Insurance companies do not reward loyalty folks.
A quality senior dental insurance policy is just another monthly cost if you haven’t shopped out your insurance consistently.
A good independent agent/broker can also quickly shop out your coverage needs to see who the offers the best rates in the state for both dental, vision, hearing insurance and Medicare Supplemental plans.
We have been able to save many people enough money on their supplemental and life insurance costs to easily fund our best dental insurance products.
The goal is to save you enough money to keep you smiling all the way to the dentist office.
Find out about the top Medigap/Medicare Supplement plans here.
Conclusion: Best Dental For Seniors On Medicare
There are a few quality dental options for seniors are out there right now. Some are more feature rich than others. The premium dental, vision and hearing plans will be more expensive because the benefits are just clearly superior.
Again, these are not Medicare dental plans.
These are from private insurance companies and not regulated by Medicare.
The best dental for a senior citizen should also include vision and hearing coverage in one tidy, affordable policy. This will allow you to use your benefits among all 3.
Remember, Original Medicare is not going to pay for any of these services.
Senior dental policies certainly fill the void in Original Medicare where it is lacking while rounding out your retirement healthcare benefits.
You should be able to see any dental, vision or hearing provider of your choosing with a top insurance policy. We see no reason why not to recommend otherwise unless your budget does not allow it.
Trying to plug holes in Medicare can be frustrating.
Dental needs, vision problems or a loss of hearing are very, very common.
Get all your Medicare questions and concerns answered. Discuss any current dental coverage and get some feedback on what might be best for you to manage your insurance costs. Affordable Dental insurance for seniors is available.
We have complete solutions here at Maple Valley Insurance Group. Contact us @ 269-244-3420 to see how we can help you solve your dental insurance need and save money.
No more worries about big dental bills with the right policy.
If you have questions or comments about this article, feel free to leave it below. We try to respond as quickly as possible.