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Dental care is important at any age. This is why dental insurance for the elderly is so important. You may be surprised to learn that Medicare dental plans do not cover most dental benefits for eligible people, but there are still other options.
Dental insurance for seniors: overview
It is likely that you abandoned your medical and dental coverage when you left the workforce. Medicare is available for most people over the age of 65, but most dental care and dental procedures, such as cleanings, fillings, tooth extractions, or dentures are not covered by Medicare Part A or B.
There may be some rare exceptions in cases where other medical needs overlap with dental care. Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage Plans, can cover some dental care needs, but benefits vary by insurer.
Dental insurance or a defined benefit dental savings plan can help you get dental coverage, regardless of your age.
Types of dental coverage
Dental insurance and dental discount plans can both provide you with coverage for dental services. Dental savings plans are not insurance, but plans can manage your dental costs with dental discounts. Some dental reduction plans even offer free cleanings and exams.
Dental insurance has its limits, but can still be economical. The biggest limitation is the annual maximum.
For health insurance, the annual maximum refers to your disbursements. The maximum annual cost refers to the maximum amount that the insurer will pay each year. Often the annual maximum is capped between $ 1,000 and $ 2,000.
It is common for dental insurance plans to impose a waiting period for certain types of dental treatment. Often times, you can’t get dental insurance on Tuesday because you have a toothache and get a filling on Wednesday. You may have to wait up to 6 months for your coverage to pay for the refill. Other procedures may require an 18 month waiting period.
Most plans include routine care, like checkups and cleanings that are free or at minimal cost to you. Coverage amounts may vary and some plans exclude certain procedures altogether. You will find the following dental procedures covered by many dental insurance plans:
- Preventive care
- Root canals
- Dental extractions
- Prosthodontics (dental prostheses)
Most dental insurance plans use a 100-80-50 coverage structure. This means that the plan covers 100% of basic services like cleanings, 80% of the cost of basic procedures, like fillings, and 50% of major procedures like crowns, oral surgery or extractions.
The remainder of the cost of partially covered procedures is paid by the patient along with any costs exceeding the annual maximum.
Cost of dental insurance for the elderly
Your monthly cost can range from $ 10 per month to $ 60 per month depending on the plan you choose. A cost of around $ 30 per month is common. Your age, the number of people covered, and the type of plan you choose are all factors in the cost of coverage.
For dental insurance plans, you can choose between:
- Preferred Supplier Organization (PPO). This type of plan gives you more freedom to choose your dentist.
- Health Management Organization (HMO). HMOs use specific dental providers to help keep coverage costs low.
- Exclusive supplier organization (EPO). These plans have fewer restrictions than an HMO and still offer cost savings over a PPO.
Dental discount plans often cost between $ 10 and $ 20 per month for individual coverage. This option offers discounts on dental procedures ranging from 10% to 60%, depending on the service performed.
An annual commitment is often required for dental insurance plans and dental discount plans. An annual deductible may also apply for certain plans.
How to get dental insurance
Choosing the best dental insurance company and plan for you depends on your priorities, but here are some common considerations that can affect most people who purchase dental coverage:
- Network size or dentists included in the plan. If you have a favorite dentist, consider plans that include your dentist. The size of the network can also be taken into account, as a larger network often offers more local choices for dental care.
- Affordable premiums. It is possible to spend up to $ 80 per month or more for dental insurance. Find out what is covered by the plan before you buy. Similar benefits may be available from another plan with lower overall costs.
- Annual maximum. The annual maximum is the maximum amount your plan will pay for your coverage in one year. With low maximums, it can be easy to use all of your coverage with a single procedure such as a crown. Higher maximums are generally better.
- Type of network. Whether you go for a PPO, HMO, or EPO, the type of plan you choose can make a difference in how convenient your plan is to use and the monthly cost involved. HMOs are cheaper but limit coverage to dentists in the network. PPOs offer the most freedom in choosing dentists, but tend to cost a bit more.
The best dental insurance for seniors
Dental insurance options for the elderly parallel many options available for other adults. However, overall costs and out-of-pocket expenses may be a more important consideration if you have a fixed income or want to make your retirement savings last.
- A + rated by the Better Business Bureau
- Plans from multiple dental providers
- No mobile app
- Some providers are not available
You can compare prices and apply for discounted dental insurance and dental plans online with Dentalinsurance.com.
Enter your zip code to find packages available in your area. DentalInsurance.com offers a range of dental plans. Choose from DMHO (Dental Health Maintenance Organization), PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) compensation plans or dental rebate plans.
The site also provides training on how to take care of your teeth and the ins and outs of how dental plans work. Enter your email to subscribe to oral health tips and news.
It’s easy to get started online, but you can also call customer service at 800-296-3800. Hours of operation are Monday to Friday 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST.
Although not a dental insurance provider, DentalPlans.com is a leading online portal for choosing dental discount plans. In most areas, expect to find a wide selection of plans available with discounts ranging from 10% to 60% for most dental services.
Prices for preventive care range from free to around $ 20 per visit, depending on the plan you choose. The variety of plans available ensures that you will find plans that support several top dentists in your area.
With a dental discount plan, you pay a fixed (reduced) price for each service. Processing fees may apply when purchasing your plan.
- Coordination of care
- Insurance and discount card available
- No waiting times
- No online registration
- Customer service only on weekdays during working hours
3. Best overall: Smart Health Dental
Smart Health Dental (SHD) offers several dental and non-insurance plan options. It has an extensive national network of over 200,000 licensed dental providers.
Seniors have the choice between preventive coverage and full coverage. The PPO Preventive Plan provides coverage for most routine procedures such as cleanings, exams and x-rays.
There are no deductibles or waiting times. The maximum annual coverage for prevention is $ 750.
Comprehensive coverage will give you coverage for major procedures, including bridges, implants, and dentures. The maximum benefit starts at $ 750 and increases to $ 1,250 in the third year. Your benefits also increase from 80% to 100%.
Contact SHD for more details and a full quote. The service is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. Call 866-260-2402.
4. MetLife Dental
MetLife Dental has a large network of over 146,000 providers, so finding the right dentist is easy. And its plans suit a variety of patients and provide better access to routine care and emergency services. In fact, most cleanings and exams are 100% covered.
MetLife Dental offers a PPO plan backed by the Preferred Dentist program, which saves you money on all services received from a network provider. Its Veterans Dental Insurance Program (VADIP) is for veterans and their families only.
As a MetLife member, you can take advantage of its negotiated fees, which are typically 30-40% below average. You will also have the opportunity to visit suppliers inside or outside the network.
Choose the best dental insurance for you
Plan availability may vary by region, especially with the cheaper HMO plans. Check the plans available near you with our postal code finder.
Traditional dental insurance or another dental savings plan can help you save money on your dental care. Contact our recommended providers to learn more and find a dental plan today.
Want to know more about insurance? Check out Benzinga’s guides on the best affordable health insurance, the best cheap car insurance, and the best insurance companies for renters.
DentalInsurance.com is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kelsey National Corporation (KNC). One of the leading dental insurance providers, DentalInsurance.com was the first to allow individuals to compare prices and apply for discounted dental insurance and dental plans online.
DentalInsurance.com offers families, individuals and business owners the easiest way to compare and purchase affordable, quality dental insurance and discounted dental plans.