According to the American Dental Association, you could be at a higher risk for such dental problems as you get older. Dry mouth, dental caries (cavities), and periodontitis, a severe gum infection, are all dental problems linked to aging. Physical and cognitive impairments can make it difficult for seniors to care for their teeth at home, exacerbating dental problems. To stop paying out-of-pocket for dental services, you might want to enroll in a Medicare dental plan.
If you're over the age of 65, you're typically eligible for Medicare. Original Medicare (Parts A and Part B) provides hospital and medical services, but not regular dental treatment such as dentures, cleanings, fillings, and extractions. Dental treatment is usually only covered by original Medicare in an emergency or complicated situation. You'll almost certainly need a dental plan if you want coverage for regular dental care.
There are no stand-alone dental plans available by Medicare in addition to Original Medicare. The only way to get dental coverage under Medicare is to enroll in Medicare Advantage Plans with dental benefits. Another choice is to get Medicare Part A and Part B coverage from a private insurance provider that has a deal with Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans are required to cover all that Original Medicare covers, and most plans go above and beyond.
Routine vision, hearing, and prescription drug coverage, as well as dental coverage, can be included as additional benefits in Medicare Advantage plans. Keep in mind that dental benefits differ by Medicare Advantage plan, so make sure you know what yours covers. When selecting a plan, keep your future needs in mind. For example, you may not need dentures right now but will in a few years.
Medicare Advantage plans can cover the following, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS):
Endodontic/periodontal/extractive and prosthodontics
Routine dental services
You may be familiar with Medicare Supplement Plan (Medigap), which helps offset certain Medicare out-of-pocket expenditures including coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles. In most cases, though, Medicare Supplement only helps pay for what Original Medicare does not cover. Typical Medicare Supplement coverage does not include routine dental, routine vision, routine hearing, or prescription drug coverage.
Dental operations are usually only covered by Medicare Supplement in an emergency or difficult cases, such as if you are hospitalized and need oral surgery. Routine dental treatment, such as check-ups, x-rays, cleanings, and extractions, is typically not provided by Medicare Supplement.
To help pay for dental out-of-pocket expenses, you can buy a stand-alone dental package that is not connected to Medicare. Monthly premiums and annual maximum benefits apply to the majority of these stand-alone contracts.
A dental discount package may also be of interest to you. A dental discount package charges a premium in exchange for reduced prices at a specific group of dentists.
Problems in your mouth will affect the rest of your body. Taking care of your dental needs will help you maintain your overall health.
Medicare is covered only by home health care services prescribed by a physician and delivered by qualified nurses, although patients must meet strict eligibility criteria.
What is the easiest way to apply for Medicare? Well, you are in the right place! Most people were automatically enrolled and became eligible for Social Security when they turn to 65. We didn't need to apply for Medicare until President Reagan signed the legislation which raises the retirement age in 1983 and begins in 2003.
While eye care is a common need as we age, Medicare coverage is extremely restricted for most vision services. It is normally based on whether you encounter any medical problems that can impair your eyesight.
Many people believe that Medicare is free because, for much of their working life, you have paid into Medicare by taxes, but that assumption is not right.