Dental Insurance for Seniors: 5 Tips for Choosing the Best Dental Plan

Author: Ashley Lipman,   Photo by:

As we age, so do our teeth. Years of chewing and grinding lead to wear and tear, and combined with decay and disease, can cause many oral health problems.

These issues include gum inflammation and severe infection, which are the primary causes of tooth loss in the elderly.

Dental care is essential for seniors, but unfortunately, many of them can’t afford it. A poll shows that most 65 to 80 years old adults don’t buy insurance because they can’t find an affordable plan that covers what they need.

Many of these older Americans lost their benefits when they retired, and Medicare doesn’t include routine orthodontic work.

The original federal health program has two parts, namely A and B. The former covers hospital charges while the latter takes care of many outpatient medical expenses. The protection may not extend to visits to dentists.

However, under the right circumstances, Medicare Part B does pay for medically necessary oral treatments.

So, seniors must look for alternative coverage to protect their teeth. This task can be overwhelming because there are so many options available, but here are five essential criteria that’ll help you choose.

1. What the Plan Covers

A vital consideration when selecting dental insurance is to know what procedures the policy covers. There are limited services, so it’ll be easy to itemize to help you decide.

Always exercise due diligence and review the list of benefits and exclusions because not all plans provide the same type of coverage.

Be sure not to choose a program that includes treatments you’re unlikely to need at your age. Otherwise, you’ll only end up paying more for the extensive protection you won’t require.

2. How Much You Have to Pay

Once you know the risks to protect yourself against, you’ll have to ascertain if the premiums fit your budget. If you’re a retiree, your income will be limited, and you don’t want to overextend yourself.

Ensure that you can make the insurance payments for some time, so you won’t default in the long term and lose your cover.

3. Additional Expenses

Your dental plan cost doesn’t end with your premiums. There are other expenses you should consider. There’s the potential out-of-pocket cost for dentist office visits.

Then there’s the deductible, which is the amount you’ll have to fork out before your insurer takes over.

You must also know your insurance cap, which is the maximum coverage under your policy.

4. The Waiting Period

Another consideration is the waiting period. During this time, your policy won’t pay for some orthodontic procedures.

This phase varies depending on your plan and can stretch between a few months to over a year. However, rest assured that almost all coverage allows preventive dental care immediately.

5. Which Dentists You Can Visit

Take note that not all orthodontists are in an insurer’s network. Under managed care plans, providers have to agree to accept a lower fee for their services.

Not everyone will participate, which limits your options of professionals to consult. So be sure that the dentist you know and trust is on the insurer’s list. If not, check if a clinic that’s easily accessible for you is available before selecting your cover.

Which Dental Plan to Choose?

The insurance policy you opt for ought to be affordable and provide the cover you want. The plan should also offer low out-of-pocket expenses and deductibles and high yearly caps.

However, understand that it’s not possible to get everything the way you want it. Expect a balance between what you pay and what you get.

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