What You Should Know about Dental Insurance as You Age

A great smile can definitely provide a boost of confidence. However, strong teeth are important for more than enhancing good looks. Healthy teeth are an essential element of overall good health, and regular dental care is an essential part of maintaining overall good health. However, Original Medicare only provides limited dental coverage. Fortunately, Medicare dental   coverage is available from a variety of sources, including Medicare Advantage plans or supplemental dental plans.

Limitations of Original Medicare

Many people are shocked to learn that Original Medicare does not include routine dental coverage. Procedures such as cleanings, fillings, extractions or dentures are not covered. The only dental coverage provided by Original Medicare is for inpatient hospital care for emergency treatment or complex dental procedures. Otherwise, dental coverage is 100 percent the responsibility of individual patients. 

Medicare Advantage Plans and Supplemental Dental Packages

While Original Medicare does not cover most dental procedures, there are options available for dental coverage for Medicare-eligible patients. Many Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Medicare Part C, include dental coverage for routine dental care along with more complex dental services. By contrast, supplemental Medicare dental plans offer separately administered dental insurance coverage and require an additional premium. Medicare supplement plans also frequently pay for routine dental care along with extractions, dentures or crowns, root canals and other complex dental procedures. Both Medicare Advantage plans and supplemental Medicare plans often cover vision screening and other services in addition to dental care.

Dental Insurance versus Dental Discount Plans

Dental discount plans represent an alternative to dental insurance that is frequently less expensive. However, dental discount plans are much different from dental insurance. Unlike insurance, dental discount plans charge an up-front fee in exchange for offering deep discounts on a variety of dental procedures. Dental discount plans also frequently have significant limitations in the procedures and services available. It’s important to ensure that any plan being considered will cover services and procedures that are likely to be used.

Key Features to Consider with Dental Insurance

In selecting dental care coverage, there are a number of factors to consider. Along with deciding between dental insurance and dental discount plans, patients should decide between Medicare Advantage plans or dental supplement plans. There are other decisions to be made as well, including what procedures are covered by different plans or waiting periods. It’s especially important to ensure that any exclusions or limitations do not apply to procedures that are likely to be needed. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of money.

A Healthy Smile for Life

Dental procedures are often expensive, and many people put off dental care because of the expense. However, maintaining regular dental care is an essential element of overall good health. Original Medicare does not provide coverage for routine dental care or for outpatient dental care. However, Medicare Advantage plans and supplemental Medicare plans represent two alternatives for obtaining dental insurance.

Dental discount plans are a low-cost option for obtaining dental coverage. However, many dental discount plans have significant limitations and exclusions and may not actually represent the best choice for obtaining dental care.

Whether the choice is Medicare Advantage, supplemental Medicare dental plans  or dental discount plans, potential customers should exercise due diligence to ensure that the plan they choose provides the coverage they need to ensure a healthy smile for life.

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