Discount Dental Plans For Seniors
If you dont have dental insurance, a dental discount plan can be an excellent alternative. However, its essential to understand that discount dental plans are different from dental insurance.
Dental discount plans are a type of membership. These programs offer reduced prices on dental services with a network dentist.
With discount dental plans, members pay an annual cost upfront. This is instead of monthly installments or premiums like typical dental insurance. Members receive a dental discount card. Present this card at each dentist you visit to receive discounted prices on services.
Dental discount plans dont reimburse the dentists as traditional insurance does. Instead, you pay directly to the dentist. Remember, you must use a network dentist to be eligible for discounts. Otherwise, you must pay the full price.
Find out if a dental savings plan from DentalPlans can save you money on your next dental procedure. Visit DentalPlans.
How To Get Dental Insurance
Most people have access to dental insurance through their employer. However, those who are uninsured or underinsured like Medicare beneficiaries need to purchase a standalone policy if they want dental coverage.
Our guide on how to get dental insurance with Medicare can help you with this process.
You can also purchase a standalone policy directly with the insurance company or through a marketplace. Dental plans sold on Healthcare.gov have to meet the criteria set by the Affordable Care Act, which include offering coverage for pediatric dentistry, emergency services and prescription drugs.
Follow these guidelines to pick the right dental insurance provider:
Identify your dental needs.
A young adult with healthy teeth has very different dental care needs than a child with malocclusion or an older adult with tooth decay or gum disease. We recommend writing down the dental care needs of you and your family to make it easier to find providers that cover these procedures.
A general rule of thumb is to look for plans that cover 100/80/50: 100% preventive coverage, 80% basic work and 50% major work. However, its important to see whats included in each percentage. A policy covering 50% of major work but excluding implants may be useless if your main concern is missing teeth.
Review the different types of dental plans
We go over common dental plans in our types of dental plans section. Revise each one to see which fits best in terms of coverage benefits, plan options and cost.
Potential Savings With Dental Discount Cards
What sort of discounts can you expect with a dental card? Of course it will depend on where you live and which plan you choose.
Since the services are provided by a network of dentists who have agreed to charge less, you could get discounts on services. However, all services may not be available with these plans, so be sure to compare the list of services against any other plans youre considering.
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An Overview Of The State Of Dental Health For Baby Boomers
With advances made in dental care over the past few decades, many seniors over 65 years of age have superior dental health when compared to our predecessors. Another contributing factor to improved oral health among seniors is the addition of fluoridated water in public water systems.
But this isnt all thats needed.
Regular dental checkups and restorative care are also a part of the overall plan to keep a beautiful smile for life. The upkeep doesnt have to end after retirement. With Avia Dental Plans low monthly rates set at around $9 or less per month, baby boomers can take advantage of up to 50% off at in-network dental partners.
How Should Seniors Use Dental Insurance
As a senior, its important to stay on top of preventive care in order to prevent future dental problems down the line. Many dental insurance plans offer free preventive care services with no waiting period. If you know youll need dental work in the future, its a good idea to purchase dental insurance as soon as possible since some plans have waiting periods of up to two years for major services.
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What Are Dental Discount Cards
Another facet of dental insurance for seniors is whats known as dental discount cards or savings plans. These cards are supplemental to dental insurance and not a replacement instead, a cardholder will pay an annual fee instead of a monthly premium. A discount plan holder will receive special discounts and reduced prices on select procedures outlined in the plan.
While dental discount plans arent insurance, they could be a cheaper option for those who cant afford insurance and instead pay for all dental work out of pocket. Discount plans, like insurance, give customers a limited list of providers to choose from. Practitioners who participate in the dental discount plan have agreed to the reduced pricing structure associated with the card. These discount plans are not insurance, and payment for dental procedures is given directly to dentists.
Would You Benefit From A Dental Discount Program
Only you can decide. But if you fall into one of the following categories, you may want to consider a dental discount card:
- You need very little dental work If your mouth is healthy and you only need your twice-yearly cleanings, you may save money with a discount plan.
- You need more dental work than is covered by an insurance plans maximum limit If you need a lot of dental care and know it will be more than your current plans maximum limit, you could join a discount dental plan to help cover those extra costs. This means you may have to pay for both plans, but in the end, you may end up saving money. Do the math first.
- You have health issues that can be complicated by dental problems People with certain health conditions may need to be especially careful with their dental care. For example, untreated gum disease can worsen health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.1 A discount plan may be better than no coverage at all.
- You are older Medicare doesn’t cover most dental care, so if youre 65 or older and have Medicare, discount dental plans for seniors may make sense, especially if youre on a tight budget. More than 70% of those age 60 to 79 have some form of cardiovascular disease,2 so getting some type of coverage may be a good idea. Plus, the risk for severe gum disease or periodontitis increases with age.
Dental PPO Plans are not offered in all states.
Go365® is not an insurance product. Not available with all Humana health plans.
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Best For Flexibility: Aflac
Aflac is a renowned name in health and dental coverage since 1955. The dental insurance brand covers over 50 million patients.
The company directs reimbursements to you rather than the dentist. This makes it an excellent option for flexibility and convenience. The brand offers online insurance policy management with access to other benefits, including vision plans.
The waiting periods of this dental insurance company are defined per service category. There is no waiting time frame for a dental checkup or x-rays.
Pain relief requires a three-month wait, tooth extractions a six-month wait, and root canals a 12-month wait. Dentures have the most prolonged waiting period at 24 months.
Is Dental Insurance Right For Me
Considering the increased probability of oral problems in older adults and the rising costs of care, youll likely want a way to cut down on dental fees. A dental insurance or discount savings plan can do that.
Even if you intend to take your chances with fundamental and restorative dental issues, you may, at the very least, want a means of lowering your out-of-pocket expenses for preventive and routine care. While insurance or a savings plan will cost you a small sum up front, you will likely save more than you pay yearly for a discount card after two basic cleanings. Insurance usually costs slightly more, an average of $350 annually for adults.
I like to think about it this way: youll typically save what you pay yearly in insurance premiums after a few cavity fillings or a single crown or root canal. Ive had a couple of dental visits where the bill left me in shock, so I can say from experience, its not worth paying full costs when you dont have to. If you know youre entering a life stage where oral issues are more common, be smart, and secure some type of savings for your dental needs.
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Best Dental Plans For Seniors
In this article, we may include products or services we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through linkson this page, we may earn a small commission to help fund our mission to create more healthy smiles. Heres our process.
As you approach retirement youll have to start making some major decisions about healthcare, insurance, and even your dental coverage. Even if youre planning on using Medicare, you probably wont have the same type of dental perks that you did with your previous insurance policy. At this point, its a great idea to consider dental discount plans for seniors or separate dental insurance for seniors.
The older we get, the more at-risk our smiles are for issues like:
- Dry mouth , resulting in tooth decay
- Replacing old dental work as it starts to leak or age
- Bone loss and tooth mobility
Even though you may have always had great oral hygiene and very few dental problems in the past, giving up on your dental checkups altogether could cause little issues to spiral out of control.
Its best to stay ahead of issues while theyre small, through preventative care and early intervention. But if you dont have senior dental insurance, youll probably be more likely to shove those problems to the side. Until one day, youre struggling with chronic tooth loss and trying to figure out how youre going to eat normally, or even pay for your treatment on a fixed income.
Dental Insurance Company Reviews
There are over 100 dental insurance companies or brokers selling policies to seniors. Knowing where to start with getting quotes can make you feel like your head is spinning. Fortunately, we narrowed down the best dental insurance companies by focusing on value to the consumer, industry reputation, levels of coverage and other criteria.
After our evaluation, we chose the best dental insurance and discount plan providers: DentalPlans.com, Spirit Dental, and 1Dental. Each of these companies stood out as dental insurance companies selling policies directly to seniors.
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Cigna Dental Insurance For Seniors
Are you newly retired? If you dont have dental coverage as part of your Medicare or retirement benefits, youve probably asked yourself, Do I really need dental insurance?
The truth is, you need just as much preventative dental care now as you did when you were younger. In fact, maybe more so. Why? Because as you age, your mouth tends to become dry, your older restorations wear out, and your gums recede. All of these variables can significantly raise your risk for tooth decay and loss.
How do you find the right type of dental insurance for your needs, especially as a senior?
Focus on Preventative Care
Most dental problems are preventable. If youve always been one to see the dentist regularly, youre off on the right start. Pick a dental insurance plan that includes routine prophylactic services like:
- Dental cleanings every six months
- Diagnostic dental X-rays
- Yearly exams and gum disease screenings
- Oral cancer exams
How Often Seniors Need to See a Dentist
What if You Need Dental Work?
One of the biggest misconceptions by seniors is that if their teeth give them problems, they should just have them all extracted, and a pair of dentures made. While denturesare a viable solution for chronic dental health problems, they shouldnt be the go-to treatment for a few troublesome teeth.
What if I Need or Already Wear Dentures?
Affordable Alternatives to Traditional Insurance
Choosing The Best Dental Saving Plans For Seniors
Chances are that if youre considering dental discount plans for seniors, youre experiencing changes in your overall healthcare coverage as well. So, you might as well look for a savings plan that includes some added perks. Such as discounts on hearing and optical services. That way youre only paying one fee to join but can use your discount card at any participating provider, even if theyre not a dentists office.
A multi-purpose health savings card that is usable at dentists office, eye clinics, and hearing services saves you money and prevents you from having to sign up for more than one discount program.
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Is Dental Insurance Worth It
Individual dental plans those purchased by people instead of employer provided arent always worth it. You might end up paying more in premiums, deductibles and copays if the plans coverage doesnt match your dental care needs.
Most plans offer 100% coverage for preventive care with no deductible, copays or annual limits and such benefits may be worth the cost of dental insurance. However, your savings are significantly reduced when it comes to routine and major work coverage.
Most providers only cover 50% to 80% of these procedures and set annual maximum limits that rarely exceed the $1,000-$2,000 range. A patient that needs major work may reach this limit fairly quickly and pay a significant amount out-of-pocket on top of the monthly premiums. That said, enrolling in a dental plan grants you access to negotiated fees and rates at the dentists office that could save you money.
How Dental Insurance Works
Dental Insurance is affordable for most seniors but it has varying levels of coverage, called class of service, within one policy. You will receive some procedures at no cost beyond your premium but will share the expense of others with your insurance company.
Dental insurance almost always picks up 100 percent of the bill for routine checkups and cleanings. Coverage for common procedures like root canals and fillings are typically covered at 80 percent, although policies with higher premiums cover up to 90 percent. You are then responsible for the remaining 10 to 20 percent of the cost, called coinsurance. Most plans cover higher-priced and more involved procedures at 50 percent, so you should have some savings set aside for what your insurance does not cover. Still, with relatively low premiums, having dental insurance is far less expensive on average than paying cash for all dental procedures.
Orthodontia is another class of service, and typically has a lifetime rather than an annual maximum. You can buy dental insurance that excludes this coverage if it is doubtful that you will need it.
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How To Choose The Best Dental Insurance For Seniors
While no dental insurance specifies it is only for seniors, some dental insurance policies are better for seniors than others. For example, some cover preventative care one day one with no deductible, but nothing else. Others cover preventative and other routine restorative treatments like fillings also. And some policies are more comprehensive and cover common treatments for seniors, like crowns, bridges, and dentures.
There are several critical elements to consider when comparing shopping for the best dental insurance for seniors in 2022. Here are a few of the most essential factors:
Company Reputation And Reliability
It can be hard to have confidence in a company thats very new, thats struggling financially, or thats not well-spoken of by other customers. We looked at a variety of data points in order to assess Company Reputation and Reliability, and this metric accounted for 20% of each brands overall score.
- Year Founded: What year was this company founded? Does it have an extensive amount of experience in the insurance industry?
- AM Best Rating: How does the insurance evaluator AM Best rate this company for financial stability? We did not consider companies that had a rating lower than A-. For more information on this rating scale, see this Guide to Bests Financial Strength Ratings.
- JD Powers Score: Were this companys dental plans part of the latest JD Powers Dental Plan Customer Satisfaction Survey? If so, what is its score out of the 1,000 possible points?
- Fortune 500 Rank: Does this company have a high enough revenue to merit a spot on the Fortune 500 list? If so, where does it rank compared to other dental insurance companies?
- Google Stars: Does this companys headquarters have a Google business profile that has been rated by customers? How many reviews are posted? What is the average rating on the 1-5 star scale?
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How Dental Insurance Plans For Seniorsworks
Senior dental insurance has tiers of coverage depending on the type of service youre receiving from the dentist. Preventative services like cleanings and exams are usually covered at 100%, so you dont pay anything out of pocket. Whereas basic treatments drop to 80% and major services 50%. And thats only 80% or 50% up to the allowable of $1,000-$1,500, so youre responsible for 100% of any amount that goes over that dollar figure.
Lets say youre going to get a $5,000 pair of dentures, which is major dental work. Your dental insurance will pay 50% of major treatments, but only allows $1,500 in treatments a year. Youre still paying for $3,500 of that denture, even with your coverage AND the monthly premiums. Your dentist will send off the claim and everyone will cross their finger that it pays out the way you hope it will. For the years between new dentures, youre only using up $100-200 for routine checkups and X-rays.
On the other hand, you could use a dental savings plan and get a flat discount on any and all treatments plus free exams and X-rays in most cases. If its a 15% discount, youre paying $4,250 for that same denture, but you may not have the same monthly premiums, definitely wont have any deductibles to pay, and you dont have to guess about the total cost out of pocket.