A Guide to Dental Insurance for Seniors on Medicare
You Want Dental Care, Not a Dent in Your Wallet.
Original Medicare, Parts A and B, usually don’t cover dental insurance for seniors on Medicare. There may be some exceptions—they might help you out with that hang-gliding accident emergency repair—but by and large, seniors on Medicare can’t get the preventive dental care they need with Original Medicare plans.
What is there do? Should you resign yourself to paying out of pocket for your teeth cleanings, fillings, oral surgery, denture fittings, and any other dental services you may need? Or just going without them?
Neither. There’s another option for dental coverage. Getting dental insurance for seniors on Medicare may be as easy as switching Medicare plans. If you’re considering Medicare or are already enrolled in Original Medicare, it may be time to consider a Medicare Advantage plan. First, let’s take a look at why it’s vital for seniors to have dental insurance and maintain their oral health.
Why Dental Care Is Important
In addition to the cosmetic benefits of caring for your smile, dental care plays a role in your overall health. The bacteria that live in your mouth are normally harmless, but going without dental care can allow them to multiply, leading to infections, gum disease, and decaying teeth. Older adults are also especially at risk of developing cavities, often as a result of dry mouth associated with commonly prescribed medications.
Studies also suggest bacteria in your mouth can contribute to other diseases. For example, endocarditis (an infection of your heart’s inner lining) often starts with bacteria from other parts of the body traveling through the bloodstream and ending up in the heart.
And poor dental health doesn’t just contribute to illness—the reverse is true as well. Some diseases, such as diabetes, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s, put gums and teeth at risk.
Regular dental appointments increase the likelihood that your dentist will catch problems early, making them easier to treat. Your dentist may even notice symptoms in your mouth during a routine exam that indicate disease elsewhere in the body. A dental exam also offers a valuable opportunity for your dentist to identify signs of mouth, throat, and tongue cancers. The average age of diagnosis for oral cancers is 62, so it’s important for seniors not to skip appointments.
The connection between dental health and overall health is so strong that the World Health Organization includes dental care in its chronic disease prevention efforts. It’s clear that taking care of your teeth is important, and having dental insurance coverage makes it much more affordable. That’s why, for many, getting dental insurance for seniors on Medicare through Medicare Advantage can be a valuable option.
What Is Medicare Advantage?
Medicare Advantage plans are insurance policies offered by private insurance companies. They have to meet federal Medicare guidelines, and they have to offer coverage for the same services that Original Medicare does.* But after that, their coverage varies. Different Medicare Advantage plans provide different services. Most of them offer a wider array of options than you’ll get with your Original Medicare plan. And … you guessed it … some of them offer dental benefits.
HealthMarkets and Medicare Advantage
HealthMarkets can help you compare different Medicare Advantage plans. Don’t spend countless hours doing research without a guide to help you navigate Medicare regulations; instead, let one of our licensed insurance agents lead the way. When you call us, we’ll discuss important issues like these:
- Whether you need dental insurance, and how much dental care you think you’ll need
- Your monthly expenses
- What type of insurance plan, including Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), or Private Fee-For-Service (PFFS) plans, might be right for you
- The differences between HMO, PPO, and PFFS plans
Dental insurance for seniors on Medicare can be complicated. But you don’t have to navigate these options alone. Call HealthMarkets today at (800) 827-9990 or find an agent online. Our licensed insurance agents have the experience to help you get the insurance plan that’s right for you.