Senior dental insurance plans are specifically designed to help address the unique needs of senior oral health and fill the gap in coverage left by Original Medicare. Read on for information about the coverage and cost of dental insurance for seniors over 65.

Should Seniors Buy Dental Insurance?

Yes, seniors should buy dental insurance. Dental insurance for seniors over 65 is not included in Original Medicare (unless medically necessary) or Medigap supplement plans. Seniors must look elsewhere for dental coverage that can help protect their teeth.

Does Medicare Have a Dental Plan for Seniors?

Yes, Medicare has dental plan options for seniors. For example, you could apply for a Medicare Advantage plan. Many Medicare Advantage plans include vision, dental, and prescription drug coverage. These benefits are coordinated together, so any premium costs will be included in your Medicare Advantage premium. Just be aware that dental benefits are usually limited to preventive care, such as cleanings, exams, x-rays, and fluoride treatments, depending on the plan.

If you are looking for more comprehensive coverage, you may want to add a stand-alone dental plan. Stand-alone dental insurance plans for seniors are sold by private insurance companies and don’t need to be coordinated through Medicare. They will have a separate premium, but stand-alone plans can be considered affordable for the coverage they provide.

What Do Plans Designed for Seniors Cost?

If you apply for Medicare Advantage, your plan may already include dental coverage for seniors. Otherwise, the cost of stand-alone dental insurance plans will depend on age of the applicant and the level of coverage chosen. Monthly premiums can range anywhere from around $28 to $60.1

What Does Dental Insurance for Seniors Over 65 Cover?

Dental plans that best meet seniors’ needs cover a plethora of services. The level of coverage (100%, 80%, 60%, or 50%) will depend on the type of service provided and the benefit level you have chosen (basic or premium). Here are some examples of services that can be covered:

  • Two annual oral evaluations/preventive exams
  • X-rays
  • Cavity fillings
  • Crowns
  • Root canals
  • Oral surgery, which can include extraction of a tooth

If you select a plan with more comprehensive coverage, the following may be covered:

  • Prosthodontics
  • Orthodontics
  • Periodontics

These are simply examples of services covered by dental insurance plans for seniors over 65. Be sure to check your dental policy to see what, and how much, is covered.

What About Dental Discount Plans?

Discount plans are also sold by private companies, but they are not insurance plans. There are no copays, coinsurance, or deductible amounts. That also means there are no pre-negotiated rates or free yearly checkups and cleanings. A participating dentist simply agrees to offer discounts (often a percentage off from the total price) for certain medical services. Then, seniors who choose discount plans will pay their dentist directly for the cost of services (after the discount).

Depending on the plan, discount plans can be a good alternative for senior dental insurance because:

  • They are inexpensive.
  • There are no deductibles.
  • There are generally no waiting periods.
  • There are no limits to how often you can visit or change your dentist.

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References

1. “Dental insurance for seniors: Are these plans worth it?” MarketWatch. Retrieved from https://www.marketwatch.com/picks/guides/insurance/dental-insurance-for-seniors-are-these-plans-worth-it/ Accessed November 2, 2021.

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