For many older adults, visiting the dentist can become a financial burden. Especially for those new to Medicare and used to having dental coverage through employer-sponsored insurance plans. Studies have found that more than half of older adults avoid going to the dentist because of the cost. This is why it’s important to consider dental coverage when selecting your Medicare plan and then make sure you’re maximizing your dental coverage and benefits. Here’s how you can save on dental care.
Select a Medicare Advantage Plan
Most adults 65 or older are often surprised to find out upon retirement that Medicare doesn’t usually cover dental work. This can be discouraging for many as they are on fixed incomes and don’t have extra money to spend. Medicare Advantage plans, as opposed to Medicare and Medigap plans, offer some type of dental coverage. Each plan provides different benefits, but most plans cover the costs of preventative care, such as routine cleanings and exams, X-rays, and some treatment procedures.
It’s important to review the various Medicare Advantage plans and see which plan best fits your dental needs. If you typically require more dental coverage, you’ll want a plan that offers more and higher benefits. If you don’t currently have dental coverage, now is the perfect time to explore enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan. The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is presently underway, and you can switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan with dental benefits. It may cost you a little more, but depending on your needs, it will pay for itself with out-of-pocket dental savings.
Keep Your Regular Dental Checkups
Routine dental cleanings are essential to your dental health and to saving on dental care. They help to prevent plaque, tartar, cavities, and tooth decay. During your dental checkup, your dentist will perform a professional tooth cleaning. This removes plaque and tartar from your teeth in hard-to-reach areas that daily brushing and flossing aren’t always able to get.
Your dentist will also look for signs of gum disease and oral cancer. These typically don’t have any symptoms in the early stages; however, dentists are trained to spot even the earliest of signs. Preventative treatments, such as your routine dental checkup, are usually covered at 100 percent by your insurance. By taking advantage of these preventative treatments, you are helping to prevent more costly treatments from being needed.
Understand Insurance Lingo
Insurance is confusing. There’s no other way to say it. But if you understand the insurance terms, you’ll have a better understanding of how you can save on dental care.
- Premium – the monthly amount you pay for insurance coverage through your selected Medicare or Medicare Advantage plan.
- Maximum – the highest amount your dental plan will pay in a given year.
- Deductible – the amount you must pay before your dental insurance coverage begins.
- In-network – a provider that has a standing agreement with dental insurance companies to work within their allowed treatments and fee plans.
- Out-of-network – dentists who do not have a standing agreement with your insurance plan but who will process and file insurance paperwork.
These are items you need to look at when comparing insurance plans. Suppose you rarely need expensive dental treatment and are looking for preventative coverage. In that case, you may opt for a Medicare Advantage plan with a lower premium but still covers preventative treatment. Your deductible will probably be higher, but you aren’t planning to need that amount of coverage.
Discuss Your Financial Constraints
Dentists understand that procedures and treatments can be expensive. If your dentist recommends a particularly expensive treatment, discuss your financial concerns with them. Together you can discuss a possible alternate option and find a solution. Your dental health is a team effort between you and your dentist. The more your dentist knows about your situation, the better they can help you. Your dental clinic may offer financial assistance through financing, which can help you pay for your treatment. If they don’t provide in-clinic financing options, they may be able to recommend you to a dental financial lender platform.
Talk to Your Dental Team About Your Coverage
In addition to talking to your dentist and dental team about your financial constraints, ask them about your dental insurance. They can help to sort out your benefits and inform you of the best way to maximize your benefit coverage. This will help to ensure you’re not hit with any unexpected fees.
Practice Prevention at Home
One of the best ways you can save on dental care is by simply practicing good oral care at home. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. Don’t ever skip your oral routine, no matter how tired you are at night. Along with maintaining good dental hygiene, ensure you’re eating a healthy diet. Some foods are better for your teeth than others. Your overall health and dental health go hand-in-hand, so take care of yourself and stay up-to-date with all routine appointments, both physical and dental.
If you’re looking for a dental clinic that will always put you and your needs first, call the caring dental team at VIPcare Dental. We believe that everyone deserves quality and affordable dental care.