Are you worried about your Medicare dental coverage? These “bridges” to dental coverage gap can help keep you smiling throughout your Rich Retirement. Read on to find out more.
In this article:
- Taking Care of Your Teeth May Be the Key to Your Overall Health
- A Rich Retirement Includes A Healthy Mouth
- 6 “Bridges” to Medicare Coverage Gap
Solutions to Cover the Medicare Dental Coverage Gap
Taking Care of Your Teeth May Be the Key to Your Overall Health
If you’re like most people, you avoid scheduling dentist appointments until the last minute. Who can blame you?
Paying for healthcare adds up quickly — even with good health insurance coverage. The costs can rapidly escalate by hundreds or thousands of dollars with a serious medical issue.
That poses a big problem for anyone relying on Social Security for their retirement income. It may surprise you, but one of the easiest ways to fight against common medical issues facing seniors starts with regular visits to your dentist.
Unfortunately, Medicare, the number one health insurer for retirees, won’t offer any assistance. But, there are six “bridges” you can rely on when Medicare program won’t cover your dental bill.
Today, I want to talk about these six bridges and a few other things you need to know about bridging the Medicare dental coverage gap.
A Rich Retirement Includes A Healthy Mouth
Most experts say that it’s virtually impossible to be in a peak physical condition without a healthy mouth. When left untreated, gum disease or infections and dental decay can cause or worsen chronic health conditions like diabetes, pneumonia, rheumatism, stroke, and heart disease.
Missing teeth and poorly-fitting bridges and dentures can cause chronic pain, interfere with your ability to chew and digest nutritious food, and even make it difficult for you to get a good night’s sleep. Not to mention the emotional damage caused by being too embarrassed to speak with people or smile at them.
Research shows a clear link between oral health and overall body health. Regular visits to the dentist are the easiest way to avoid poor dental health and treat these issues before they become expensive procedures.
Unfortunately, dental care is often put on the back-burner. Why? It’s because people don’t factor the cost into their retirement planning.
Although routine visits to your dentist for teeth cleanings are fairly low-cost, many people are shocked when they discover Medicare dental coverage won’t include these visits. Not only that, but Medicare also doesn’t cover other common dental expenses, including fillings, dentures, and dental plates.
Medicare coverage only includes dental treatment specifically required as part of a medical procedure — which usually means a visit to the hospital. If you’re in need of assistance at that point, you’re already far from the dentist’s chair and probably looking at a medical bill of several thousand dollars!
To avoid winding up in this situation, it’s important to schedule regular visits with the dentist to maintain a healthy mouth. Unfortunately, those bills add up quickly, which means you’ll need a strategy to help cover the costs of your dental care (routine and non-medical emergency) during retirement.
6 “Bridges” to Medicare Coverage Gap
Here are the options I recommend my clients to investigate to reduce their dental care costs:
1. Consider Purchasing a Medicare Advantage Plan That Includes Dental Coverage
Individuals can purchase Advantage Plans from private insurance companies when they want coverage for prescription drugs, assisted living, nursing home care, and dental and vision care. Monthly premiums, copays, and other out-of-pocket expenses vary from one plan to the next, so you need to ask about the dental work they cover before you buy.
2. Choose a Dental Insurance Plan from a National Insurance Company
There are thousands of insurance companies out there to choose from that will assist with regular dental visits and procedures. Be sure to investigate your options thoroughly so you know exactly what basic services are included and not.
Keep in mind if there’s a waiting period before you can use the insurance for more extensive procedures and what the deductible, annual maximum, and copay options look like.
3. Receive Dental Coverage from a Member Organization
Member associations, like AARP, offer dental plans to their members. These dental plans are usually offered with budget-friendly rates and a large nationwide network of qualified dentists.
Some even offer fixed copays, no waiting period, no annual deductible, and no annual maximum. You’ll need to investigate your available options to see which is best for you.
4. Consider Joining a Consumer Discount Program
These dental savings plans operate like a membership-based warehouse discount club. For an annual fee — usually under $200 — members can receive routine and advanced care from participating dentists at a savings of 20%-50%, even more in some cases.
5. Check Out Your Local Dental and Dental Hygiene Schools
Dental schools are an option for good low-cost care, as many have clinics where students get experience working on patients and with dentures. This is a great opportunity to receive care directly from the pros without worrying about deductibles or other complicated paperwork.
6. Negotiate Directly with Dentists and Other Providers
You can often negotiate the total fee for a procedure to a lower price or arrange to have more complicated services completed over a longer period, paying over several months instead of all at once. The fees charged by different dental practices can vary widely.
Simply call multiple dentists in your area and ask for pricing information.
I hope these six “bridges” to Medicare dental coverage gap can help you better navigate the company’s exclusions. Choose the coverage options that best suit your preference and your retirement income.
Together, we can keep you and your beautiful smile healthy and bright!
Which of the bridges to Medicare dental coverage gap do you feel will work for you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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