Option : Standalone Dental Plan For Seniors
Some health insurers offer dental coverage for seniors as standalone dental plans. These add-on plans are a great choice for dental coverage if you only have Original Medicare or if you have a Medicare Supplement plan.
When selecting a plan, compare coverage details and plan specifics because there is a broad range of policies on access and restrictions. Each plan will specify how much it covers for preventative dental care, basic services or major services. Most plans have a network of providers, and checking this list can make sure you have access to your preferred dentist.
The best dental insurance plans for seniors are from DentaQuest, Aetna and Humana.
DentaQuest: best customer satisfaction
Remember to compare plans based on the waiting period, and some policies may not cover major services until you’ve had the policy for several months. Humana is a great option if you need dental care immediately because most plans have no waiting period for major services like root canals, crowns and dentures.
Many providers may also offer an alternative to dental insurance called a dental discount program. These dental network programs aren’t the best fit for everyone, but we recommend them as one of the five ways to get a cheap dental cleaning without insurance.
How Much Should I Expect To Pay For Dental Insurance On Medicare
It varies based on coverage level, for both the medical aspect and the dental side. Medicare Advantage plans can be as low as $0 or over $100 per month, and some providers only offer dental at an added cost . These prices can also vary greatly depending on what prescription drug coverage you enroll in and what medications youre prescribed because some plans add a premium for Part D prescription drug coverage. Many factors go into the overall cost of Medicare Advantage plans, but on the whole, total costs can be anywhere from under $100 per month to over $300 or more, depending on what level of care and coverage you select for each different aspect of your plan.
Finding The Right Dental Insurance Plan
Unfortunately, brushing and flossing every day isnt enough to ensure your oral health. A lack of preventive dental care may lead to unexpected tooth and gum disease, later on, leaving you with steep medical bills or debt from a costly but necessary procedure. Regular cleanings from your dentist help remove bacterial plaques that will eventually likely damage your teeth through cavities and decay. Even if you feel like your teeth are fine, youll benefit immensely from having an insurance plan.
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What Dental Care Services Are Covered By Medicare
When it comes to Medicare and dental coverage, only Medicare Advantage Plans may offer dental coverage and not all of them do. This coverage is typically basic and could include:
- And possibly more
Make sure to review all details of any Medicare Advantage Plan before you enroll. Plans may differ based on the insurance company and even your location. Dental coverage often comes with limits on how many dental care services are covered in a plan year, maximum cost allowances, and more.
Dental Options Available To Seniors
Even though both Original Medicare and traditional Medigap lack dental benefits, there are still other options available for seniors. These options include:
- Private dental insurance
- Dental benefits included in Medicare Advantage
- Reduced cost, or free, dental care from dental schools
- Dental discount plan
So whatâs the best dental insurance for seniors? The answer lies in understanding your options.
Private dental insurance is a simple way to obtain dental coverage. These plans charge a monthly premium in exchange for sharing the costs of covered dental services. The monthly cost of these plans are normally much less than their private health insurance counterparts. Plans differ in their covered services and do not have a common benefit design. Private dental insurance plans can be compared on exchange websites such as DentalInsurance.com. These plans differ based on:
- The dental services they cover
- The dentists who accept the insurance coverage
- The maximum dental costs the insurance will pay within a year
- The out-of-pocket costs charged for different dental services
For more information on private dental insurance, see our guide Dental Insurance 101.
Most Medicare Advantage plans do offer some level of dental coverage as an extra benefit beyond Original Medicare. These dental benefits are not standardized and some can be quite modest .
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Dental Services For Medicaid Beneficiaries At Two Local Nonprofits
Seniors on Medicaid in Washington state know how difficult it is to find a dentist to care for them. In April, the Seattle Times shined a light on the issue when it exposed a budget deficit at the University of Washingtons School of Dentistry caused in large part because 65 percent of the patients the school sees are on Medicaid, which doesnt cover the cost of the services.
But one dentist and two Seattle nonprofit organizations are bucking the trend by providing dental care for seniors on Medicaid. The program involves Dr. Allison Jacobs LeGendre, a veteran dentist who works with hundreds of these seniors at Foss Home and Village and at Providence ElderPlace, both in Seattle.
LeGendre, who is affiliated with the UW and has had a long career as a dentist and dental products designer, is trying to change the way seniors receive dental care. As a Foss dental services employee, she is able to provide comprehensive dental carecleanings, extractions, fillings and denturesto meet the needs of a population that otherwise has a very hard time finding dental care.
Few dentists serve Medicaid patients because the reimbursements are so low. And those who do almost always cap the number of Medicaid patients theyll see. Luckily for the residents at Foss and the participants at ElderPlace, they have a place to go.
For more information, contact Providence ElderPlace at 206-320-5325 or Foss at 206-364-1300.
Contributor Cynthia Flash owns media relations firm Flash Media Services.
What Dental Care Does Medicare Part A Cover
Medicare Part A won’t cover dental services such as cleaning, fillings, root canals, crowns, extractions or dentures.
However, if you have an emergency or complicated dental procedure where you need to go to the hospital, Medicare Part A can cover your hospital care. This could include jaw surgery, tooth extractions before cancer radiation treatments, splints for facial fractures, an oral exam before a kidney transplant or other major treatments.
In these situations where you need hospital treatment for your jaw, mouth or teeth, we recommend that you check the billing codes for each service to confirm your coverage.
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Why Dental Care Is So Important To Seniors
As people age, they are more likely to develop medical conditions requiring ongoing medication. These medications can sometimes come with side effects including âdry mouth.â Dry mouth is a particular worry with respect to dental health since saliva helps protect teeth against cavities. When the mouth is dry, this protection is gone. Aside from regular dental check-ups, a senior suffering from dry mouth can keep a humidifier running while they sleep and drink more water during the day.
Ideally, proper dental care helps to prevent the prospect of tooth loss. When seniors lose teeth, eating can become more difficult. As a consequence of problems with eating, nutritional problems may develop. Proper dental care can also spot problems early. For example, among seniors who smoke, regular dental visits can spot signs of an emergent oral cancer.
Apply for new dental plans online or enhance existing benefits easily and affordably.
Does Medicare Pay For Dental Care
Medicare doesnt cover most routine or preventative dental care. There are unique situations in which Medicare will cover dental. These include:
- Dental services that are critical to a larger procedure like facial reconstruction after an accident.
- Tooth extraction that is needed to prepare for radiation treatment.
- Oral exams that are to prepare for a kidney transplant or heart valve replacement.
If you have any other life-altering condition that requires dental work, then you may be able to appeal for medicare coverage with the right endorsements from a physician. All insurance appeals are determined on a case-by-case basis.
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Humana Affordable Dental Coverage For Seniors
Next on our list of dental insurance companies is Humana dental plans which offer different levels of coverage to meet the requirements of any budget. Humana dental plans are available in 28 states and offer straightforward dental coverage with ease in mind.
Humana dental plans are geared toward those looking for great dental coverage with low monthly premiums. Another great perk of Humana dental insurance is the option for a lifetime deductible. Once you meet the lifetime deductible, you will receive the maximum coverage of the plan. Lifetime deductibles range from $50-$150.
Once you meet your deductible, Humana dental insurance offers 100% coverage on all preventive services in-network and 80% coverage out of network. Additionally, Humana offers 50% coverage for basic services. However, their plans do not cover major dental services.
The Dental Lifeline Network
This program by the American Dental Association offers free, comprehensive dental treatment to specific groups, including people ages 65 and older.
You can use this tool on the Dental Lifeline Network website to learn about the specific program details in your state.
Heads up: Due to long wait lists, several states and counties are no longer accepting new applications for the Dental Lifeline Network program. When we did a quick search, Nevada and Wisconsin werent accepting new applications.
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As An Active Employee Do I Need To Enroll In Medicare Part B When I Turn 65
When you turn 65, you will receive information from Social Security informing you of your automatic enrollment in Medicare Part A. You will also be asked if you wish to enroll in Part B. Active employees who are enrolled in medical benefits can defer enrollment in Medicare Part B until they retire, Your State of Vermont employee medical plan will continue to be your primary coverage for all medical services. If a dependent on your active employee medical plan is turning 65, they can also defer enrollment in Medicare Part B until you retire. The exception is domestic partners, who must enroll in Medicare Part B when they become eligible at age 65. Once you retire or terminate employment with the state, you and your dependents must apply for Medicare Part B immediately, if you are already eligilbe , or when you become eligible. Forms can be obtained from Social Security and if needed, the Employee Benefits can complete the sections certifying your employee coverage. All forms can be sent to
Does Medicaid Cover Dental Care
Medicaid dental coverage depends on the state in which you live, as well as your age. Medicaid is required to provide children with access to dental coverage, but each state determines which dental benefits adults enrolled in Medicaid receive. Most states do provide coverage for emergency dental services for adults, but fewer than half currently offer comprehensive dental coverage to adult Medicaid enrollees.
This list summarizes each states current Medicaid dental offerings for adults.
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National General Best Preventive Services For Seniors
National General rounds out our list of top 5 dental insurance companies. Their dental plans offer one of the best preventive coverage options for seniors.
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Dental plan coverage from National General ranges from $750-$3,000 in annual benefits. Their dental plans utilize the Aetna dental network, allowing policyholders access to a wide variety of dentists who accept the plan.
Enrollment to National General dental plans is not dependent on Medicare. However you must be at least 55 years old to enroll in the plan.
In addition to dental coverage, National General plans also provide hearing coverage to policyholders. For dental coverage, in the first year, you will receive 100% preventive coverage and 25% basic coverage. By year two, your basic services receive 50% coverage. These plans do not provide coverage for major services.
Is Dental Coverage Included In Original Medicare
If youâre a senior over 65 you are most likely eligible for Medicare. Original Medicare covers hospital and medical insurance but does not generally include coverage for routine dental care such as dentures, cleanings, fillings, and extractions. Original Medicare generally only covers dental care in emergency or complicated cases. If you want coverage for routine dental care, you will most likely need a dental plan.
Best For Low Deductible: Spirit Dental
Not all plans available in every state
It takes three years to hit a 50% coinsurance amount
Spirit Dental is a nationwide provider offered by Ameritas Life Insurance Corp and has high ratings from both Standard & Poors and AM Best. Coverage is available directly and through an employer and includes policies for individuals, families, kids, and seniors.
Spirit Dental has a $100-lifetime deductible and excellent value for its subscribers. With eight plans available, there are many options for dental care coverage. The Network 3500 plan can be a place to start your search as coverage begins on your first effective date. Preventative care is covered 100%, while Basic and Major services have increased coverage amounts for the first three years on most policies.
The annual maximum ranges from roughly $1,200 to $5,000, depending on your plan. However, not all plans are available in every state. Their premium rates vary based on where you live and other variables however, based on a preliminary search, you can expect something in the range of about $50 to $110 per month, depending on the plan and coverage you choose.
Best Customer Service: Kaiser Permanente
We chose Kaiser Permanente for its excellent customer service. Kaiser garners top scores in customer satisfaction from J.D. Power.
Coverage available at any Kaiser Permanente facility
Only available in 8 states
Some dental coverage can cost extra
In some plans, dental is bundled with hearing and vision coverage
Kaiser gets our nod for best customer service based on their ratings from Medicare and from J.D. Power, the data analytics and consumer intelligence company. Kaiser came in first place in J.D. Power’s Medicare Advantage customer satisfaction study six times in the last seven years. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente is based in Oakland, Calif. and serves 12.6 million members. People enrolled in Kaisers Medicare Advantage plan can get coverage at any Kaiser Permanente facility, and premiums range from $0 to over $100 each month, depending on your needs and where you live.
With many of their Medicare Advantage Plans, Kaiser offers the Silver& Fit senior fitness program. The program is offered with a facility-based option and a home-based option and includes educational materials on healthy aging, social activities, and an activity and exercise tracking tool.
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Best In Options: Blue Cross Blue Shield
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Limits on comprehensive care
Medicare Advantage plans don’t provide comprehensive dental coverage.
While extra effort may be needed to find your specific states website for Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage plans , its worth it for the coverage and comparisons it offers. Dental Blue 65 Preventive is the lowest priced plan of BCBS, at under $24 per month, but only covers diagnostic and preventative services like cleanings and X-rays. The Dental Blue 65 Basic plan costs under $38 per month but includes basic services like fillings and extractions. The Dental Blue 65 Premier is the most comprehensive and expensive plan offered, costing just under $69 per month. But it includes all services including dental implants, crowns, bridges and dentures. According to the BCBS website, its plans offer you coverage with over 90% of doctors and specialists and 342,000 provider locations nationwide.
Option : Medicare Advantage Plans With Dental Coverage
Dental coverage varies widely by Medicare Advantage plan. In some cases, you have to pay extra to have dental care included in your plan. There could also be options for basic or premium coverage, letting you choose the dental plan that works for you.
Look for plans that offer low-cost or free preventative services. If you need more expensive treatments, pay attention to the plan’s cost-sharing percentage and the cap on how much the plan will cover each year.
The best Medicare Advantage plans for dental coverage are from AARP/UnitedHealthcare, Aetna and Highmark.
AARP: largest network of dentists
Among our picks for the best Medicare Advantage plans, Aetna has the cheapest monthly costs. The company reimburses policyholders for in-network dental coverage, and it provides the option for expanded dental benefits at an additional monthly cost. This can be a great way to manage your expenses if you need significant dental services in the upcoming policy year.
If you’re signing up for a new Medicare Advantage plan, you can choose your dental coverage options during the plan selection process. If you’re already enrolled in Medicare Advantage, talk to your provider about what dental coverage options are available to you, and if there is no add-on coverage available, you may be able to enroll in a standalone dental policy.
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Best Medicare Dental Plans For Seniors
Find Cheap Medicare Plans in Your Area
Original Medicare does not provide comprehensive dental care, and Medicare Part A will only cover select dental services that require hospitalization. For most types of dental care, such as cleanings, X-rays or root canals, you’ll need dental coverage through a Medicare Advantage plan, a standalone dental plan or Medicaid.