Paying for Dental Care for Those on Medicare

What about dental?  Once we've gotten the Medicare health and drug coverage in place, that is the most common question we get.


With rare exceptions Medicare does not cover dental care.  Dental health, however, is an important part of one's overall health and shouldn't be neglected.


But how do you pay for it?


Many people self-pay for dental care, which can be expensive.  There are two kinds of plans available to help you with covering the cost of dental care.


One option is dental insurance, the other dental discount plans.  Here is a quick overview on how these options vary, with links to details and online enrollment:


Option 1: Dental Insurance


Dental insurance covers three levels of care: preventive, basic, and major.  Preventive care, like exams and cleanings, are often covered day one at 100%.  Basic and major care, however, are usually subject to waiting periods, or have graduated benefits that start small and get better the longer you're paying for the plan.  Insurance carriers do this to guard against people who might enroll when they have a dental emergency, then cancel the insurance once they get the dental work done.


Dental insurance plans almost always have dentist networks. Dentists not in the network are either not covered at all, or at a higher out-of-pocket cost to you.


Dental insurance plans vary in price and benefits, but you can expect to pay $40+ per month for a plan with a $2,000-2,500 max annual benefit.


At the bottom of this page is a link to a dental plan we like.  Its $2,500 annual benefit is higher than most dental plans, and the benefits for basic and major services increase the first of the year, not after 12 months like many plans, so if you enroll late in the year you get the increase in benefits quickly.


Option 2: Dental Discount Plans


Dental discount plans are an often overlooked but good alternative to traditional dental insurance in a couple of important ways:


1) Discount plans cost less than dental insurance.  A dental discount plan may cost you $100-150 or so per year instead of the $400-500 per year premium for dental insurance.


2) Discount plans have no annual maximum benefit and no waiting periods like dental insurance plans do.


When a dentist contracts with a dental discount plan the practice agrees to a negotiated contract rate for services, which can be 20-60% less than their usual and customary rate.


Several years ago Forbes magazine published an article, Dental Discount Plans Beat Insurance.  It makes a strong case that dental discount plans are better than traditional dental insurance.  This link will take you to a printable copy of that article: Forbes on Dental


The Dental Plans website is a great source for finding dental discount plans.  You'll find more than 20 different dental plans that start at less than $100 per year.


Ready to get more information or enroll in a dental insurance or discount plan?


Below are links to both types of plans.  You may review plans, search for dentists, and enroll when you're ready to proceed.  If you need help please call.


For dental insurance details and enrollment: Dental Insurance


For dental discount plan details and enrollment: