Need dental insurance?

Do you need dental insurance?

I am asked all the time if Medicare covers dental?  The short answer is No, Medicare does not cover any routine dental care.

Medicare will only pay for dental services that are an integral part either of a covered procedure (reconstruction of the jaw following an accidental injury), or for extractions done in preparation for radiation treatment for diseases involving the jaw or if the tooth poses a health risk due to decay.  Medicare will not cover replacement of the tooth or a root canal or crown to save the tooth, nor will Medicare cover dentures.

According to a recent study by Boston-based discount dental service provider Universal Dental Plan, nearly half of Americans age 65 and older did not visit a dentist in the previous year, the number one reason being cost. The consequences of that decision can be dangerous. Poor oral health increases one’s risk of heart disease by 180 percent, risk of stroke by 300 percent and risk of respiratory infection by 500 percent – not to mention gum disease! Some folks opt to pay out of pocket for regular cleanings rather than pay for dental insurance, thinking that unless they were having major procedures done every year they would pay three or four times in premiums what they spend on the work needed.  But this not the best idea.

Medicare Advantage Plans May Include Dental

There are a few Medicare Advantage plans available in Maine and New Hampshire that cover routine cleanings and other work at the dentist.  When it comes time for you to enroll in a Medicare or during the Annual Open Enrollment Period (October 15th – December 7th in 2016) it is a good idea to review these plans if dental care is important to you.  Plans change every year and your plan may have added dental coverage and you don’t even know it.

Dental insurance is an alternative.

You can get a free quote from Delta Dental by clicking here.  The monthly premiums equal what most people pay out of pocket for their 2 cleanings each year so why now spend that money on the insurance so when you need a filling you will have coverage.   [Click here to see plans]

Dental Discount Plans are a popular option.

Discount plans are gaining in popularity. For a yearly membership fee, you can enter into a discount dental plan, which allows you to get significant discounts (between 15% and 60%) on dental costs, provided that you use dentists that accept these plans.  [Click here to see plans]

“Discount dental plans work like a BJ’s or a SAM’S Club membership,” says Edan Barshan, president of Universal Dental Plan. In return for the monthly fee, you can choose among a network of dentists who will give 10 to 60 percent rate reductions for certain services. That $1,000 crown might only cost $600 for a member of a plan.  And unlike dental insurance, which may not cover preexisting conditions or have waiting periods, you can shop for a discount dental plan knowing you need a root canal and select the plan that offers the cheapest price, says Buddy Johnson, chief executive officer of national discount dental provider “You could sign up today and go to the dentist tomorrow,” he says.

Dental discount plans differ in several ways from dental insurance plans:

  • Discount plans generally cost less than traditional dental insurance.
  • You have to pay for the service in full, or negotiate a payment plan with the provider.

There are generally no restrictions on how many procedures you can get at a discounted price in a given year. Discount plans generally run for one year, so you can switch plans as your needs change. If you have a dentist already, you should ask whether he or she will accept the plan. Otherwise, you’ll need to find a provider who will. A number of discount dental plans include elective services, which are often not covered by insurance plans. Cosmetic dentistry, for example, is almost always excluded by insurance, but cosmetic procedures like tooth whitening are included in many discount plans’ list of services.

To search for discount plans in your area CLICK HERE and put in your zip code. As with any important financial decision, do your homework first. Find out what providers in your area are on the plan and what procedures are covered. Make sure that costs and benefits add up to a net plus for your particular situation.

Would you like my help?

If you would like help finding the right dental plan or ask a few questions, you can call me directly at 207-370-0143 or use my simple form on the CONTACT page of this site to send an email message.  The best part about working with me is that it will not cost you anything to talk with me to discuss your options and review the plans that are available.  I am paid by the insurance companies in the form of a commission when you enroll in a plan.  You will not pay anything to meet with me and you will pay the same price for your insurance that everyone pays whether they had my help or not.

“My goal is to help people and I have found great joy in being able to offer my services to people who need my help.”

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