Although most people bristle when their “Welcome Packet” arrives from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the organization offers several benefits for senior citizens. The only problem is that most seniors these days rebuff the idea that they have entered their Golden Years. Nevertheless, AARP provides tips and tricks that people in a particular age group may benefit by employing. For example, the AARP website lists hints for leveraging Medicare coverage for dental benefits.
Medicare & Dental Care
Although most dental services do not fall under the Medicare benefit package, you might be surprised to learn that you can claim some related expenses. For instance, if you require jaw surgery, this could be filed under a “covered expense.” Also, if you are diagnosed with oral cancer, Medicare may cover radiation and other associated treatments.
What Medicare Covers
Most working-age people fail to realize that one of the benefits they lose when they retire is dental coverage. Routine care, for instance, is not a covered Medicare expense. For that reason, we recommend new retirees consider purchasing a supplemental plan of some kind. This type of coverage makes up the difference between raw costs for treatment and expenses that Medicare refuses to pay.
Results of Poor Dental Coverage
According to a study done by the National Poll on Aging, the percentage of people who qualify for Medicare (age 65 and up) and do not have dental coverage rises to 47 percent. As a result, the vast majority of those who remain uncovered opt out of routine dental appointments. This is unfortunate, since elderly people struggle with oral issues more often than their younger peers. Since most retired people live on a fixed income, they struggle to cover out-of-pocket dental (and other) expenses. As a result, many seniors end up facing steep dental bills for procedures such as root canals, crowns, bridges, and implants.
Dental Coverage Solutions for Seniors
Since Medicare Advantage Plans lack sufficient supplemental coverage, you may want to consider some of the following dental insurance alternatives as you reach retirement age:
- Add yourself to your working spouse’s coverage.
This will only work, obviously, if your husband or wife remains gainfully employed. But some people fail to consider this, since they worked and maintained their own coverage for most of their working lives.
- Research Medi-Gap policies.
Medigap is Medicare Supplement Insurance that helps fill medical “gaps.” Private companies sell original Medicare. As such, original Medicare pays for much, but not all, of the cost for covered health care services and supplies. A Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) may offset some of the remaining health care costs, such as copayments, co-insurance, and deductibles.
- Care Credit
Most dental health professionals, including Dr. Fred Wong of Blue Ocean Dentistry, accept this medical credit card, which breaks large procedures into bite-sized payments. Some people who struggle to qualify for other forms of credit may be approved for this type of coverage. Ask your dentist if CareCredit is right for you.
- Health Savings Account (HSA)
Even before you enroll in Medicare, you can start building up an HSA. Using this type of savings plan, you can withdraw money tax free for eligible medical expenses, including dental costs.
If you’re a senior, please do not ignore dental hygiene. Now, more than ever, you should make sure you take care of your teeth. Call today to schedule an exam (626) 852-6999.
About Dr. Fred Wong of Blue Ocean Dentistry in Glendora
Dr. Fred Wong and the staff at Blue Ocean Dentistry use the latest available dental treatments, equipment, and materials – all of which make a marked difference in our patients’ experiences. We are committed to helping our patients achieve optimal dental health. We creatively combine dental science and artistry — which can literally redesign your smile. Since even a subtle change in your smile will help you to project self-confidence and high self-esteem, we love helping you feel good about yourself. We deliver the finest dental care at the most reasonable cost and accept most dental insurance plans as well as CareCredit. For more about the dental treatment plans we offer or to schedule an appointment, call today (626) 852-6999.