Looking for dental insurance for seniors? Don’t look to Medicare
Many newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries are surprised to learn that Medicare does not include senior dental insurance. When Medicare was first initiated in 1966, it was not meant to be comprehensive coverage.
With the cost of dental services, including routine care, major restorative and dentures, senior dental insurance is needed more than ever. Many seniors are on a fixed income and often go without the dental treatment that they require .
Seniors often assume that a Medicare supplement will give then the dental coverage that they are looking for. Unfortunately, this is not the case. A supplement, also known as a Medigap policy, will fill gaps left by Medicare, but only for covered services. So the hospital deductible and the 20% co-insurance for outpatient services will be covered , but dental services for seniors will not be covered.
Senior dental insurance options
Seniors do have some options available when looking for a dental plan. Some of the options include:
- Purchase stand alone dental insurance. Some insurance companies offer dental insurance for seniors. Plans can be pricey and vary in benefit options from one company to the other.
- Sign up for a dental discount plan. The key to these plans is not to get fooled by the low price if there is not a credible network of dental providers.
- Those that enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan may have dental insurance or a dental discount plan included in their benefits.
Shopping online for senior dental insurance
Today, the easiest way to find dental insurance for seniors is to shop online and compare different plans. This has become prevalent because many insurance agents don’t earn enough commission per sale and would rather spend there time in more lucrative markets.
When shopping for senior dental insurance, make sure you understand what type of product you are looking at.
Dental insurance should be described as such. Insurance will typically have an annual deductible and a maximum benefit amount per calendar year.
Dental discount plans are not allowed to use the word “insurance” to describe their benefits. Discount plans will normally advertise a percentage savings on dental costs and will not have a deductible or maximum amount of benefit. Some plans, such as DentalPlans.com have been around for over 40 years and offer several plans from which to choose.
The main thing to keep in mind, is that unless you have a Medicare Advantage plan with dental coverage, you will need to shop for senior dental insurance or a discount dental plan.