The full cost of checkups, cleanings, fillings, extractions, and dentures could rest solely on you if you don’t have any sort of dental coverage. Seniors are especially susceptible to oral hygiene neglect due to issues like decreased nerve sensitivity and arthritis, which can make brushing and flossing difficult.
If you think you may need expensive dental work, here are a few of the options that may be available to you.
Medicare Advantage (Part C)
Some Medicare Advantage plans offer dental as well as vision and prescription drug coverage. To join a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll have to enroll during your Initial Enrollment Period or wait for the Open Enrollment Period (October 15 – December 7), and you’ll be automatically disenrolled from your old plan when your new plan coverage begins.
Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap)
Medigap plans are supplemental insurance plans provided by private insurance companies to help cover some of the out-of-pocket costs Medicare doesn’t cover. Some insurance companies offer special coverage options for dental and vision care, while others have a discount program for dental and vision care expenses. Dental and vision coverage are not standard with Medigap policies and are only offered by some insurance companies, so make sure you know which Medigap plan is right for you when signing up.
Medicaid is a federally-funded program that provides health care for individuals living with low-income, including seniors. States have the option of providing dental care under their Medicaid program, but it varies by state and by year, depending on funding availability. Check with your local Medicaid office to see if you qualify for coverage.
Senior Dental Savings Plan
For a low yearly fee, you could have access to affordable dental care provided by an extensive network of dentists at discounted rates. Savings can range from 30-60%, and the remaining balance is paid directly to the dentist. This is a good option for you if you need extensive work done or you’ve already maxed out your existing dental care coverage because dental savings plans have no annual limits. Plans vary by state, so click here to find a plan in your area that’s right for you.
If you have a dental school in your area, this might be a good choice for your dental care needs. Dental schools provide quality dental care at low costs. Licensed dentists supervise procedures to assure you are receiving the best possible dental care. Dental schools are excellent choices for preventative care, although your appointment might take longer to assure the student completes the procedure effectively.
Stand-alone dental insurance plan
If your insurance plan doesn’t include dental coverage, you may be able to purchase a stand-alone dental plan. However, stand-alone dental plans will also have their own premiums you’ll need to pay in addition to your existing insurance premiums.
Join your spouse’s plan
If your spouse is still working and has a dental plan through their employer, you may be able to join their plan to receive the dental care you need.