Should I Consider Dental Coverage?

Proper dental care is a vital part of staying healthy. MedicareAdvantage.com  reports that poor dental care can lead to severe health conditions, including heart and respiratory disease, strokes, diabetes, and cancer.

Due to these concerns, you may want to consider dental coverage as part of your Medicare options. Medicare Advantage Plans (plans offered by private healthcare companies) provide Part A and Part B Medicare benefits, and some plans now cover many dental health procedures.

A plan that includes dental coverage usually covers standard procedures, such as oral exams, x-rays, cleanings, extractions, and fillings. Some policies also cover crowns, bridges, implants, dentures, and gum disease treatment. However, some plans limit coverage in specific ways, such as the number of cleanings, extractions, or x-rays included per year.

To find the best plans, seniors should look for those that address dental conditions seniors often encounter, such as dry mouth. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), physicians prescribe more than 500 medications that cause dry mouth in seniors who have conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. The ADA describes dry mouth as a frequent cause of cavities in older adults. The ADA also reports that gum disease and mouth cancer often occur in seniors.

The cost of dental care is another reason to purchase a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes dental coverage. The average annual cost across the US for an individual dental insurance policy is between $348 and $546. Paying for dental care out of pocket is prohibitive for most seniors, who need two annual checkups (which include exams, x-rays, and cleanings) and cost an average of $576 per year for both exams.

The average premium for a Medicare Advantage Plan that covers dental is about $420 per year. That plan also may cover prescriptions and eye care.

If you’re approaching enrollment age for Medicare, be sure to contact us for more information on finding the best plan for your medical and dental needs.