Dental Blog / Senior Dental Care Options in Retirement

Senior Dental Care Options in Retirement

The joys of retirement are endless. Whether it’s starting that new hobby you’ve always wanted to try, traveling to exotic places, or the simple pleasure of not setting an alarm, retirement is fun! But being on a fixed income requires some planning to ensure the fun won’t run out.

One aspect of retirement planning is senior dental care. As you get older, your teeth begin to fade and having a dental care plan will help you navigate issues when they arise. When you retire or reach age 65, here are some dental coverage options available to you:

  • Purchase a plan with Medicare Advantage
  • Purchase a dental plan on the individual market
  • Pay for dental services out-of-pocket
  • Purchase a dental discount plan

We’ll go over each of these options below, and we’ll find out which one works best for you.

Purchasing a dental plan with Medicare

You’ve probably heard this before: original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) does not cover routine dental or vision care, though some coverage is provided in an emergency setting. If you’re looking to package your Medicare health plan with a dental plan, Medicare Advantage (also known as Medicare Part C) may be what you’re looking for.

Medicare Advantage partners with private insurance companies to provide dental coverage for you to choose from. Choosing a dental plan with Medicare provides you with the convenience that all of your insurance is wrapped in one package. But you still need to do research on what these plans provide as it pertains to what you’re looking for. Because only a certain number of dental insurance companies partner with Medicare, you may be best served shopping the individual market.

Shopping the individual market

Shopping for dental insurance online can seem overwhelming, but it also gives you the power of choice. These days, buying any insurance online is relatively simple. But choosing the best plan for you might take some research. Figuring out what your needs are now and in the future will give you the best opportunity to choose the best plan that works for you.

What are the dental coverage needs you’re looking for:

  • Are you looking for a low-cost plan that provides preventive cleanings and exams covered 100%?
  • Do you want a plan that increases coverage over time because you foresee expensive issues (dentures, crowns and implants) down the road?
  • Do you need an expensive procedure ASAP and looking for a plan with a high year one annual maximum and no waiting period?

Typing “senior dental insurance” into Google will provide you with a litany of links and articles to click on. Some of these links are research articles that bring together the best dental brands for seniors. You will see there is a lot of information out there. Once you know what you want for dental coverage, go through the process of getting a quote, find a plan that looks good, and dive into the details.

What are some dental coverage plan items to look for?

  • Premium – monthly cost of your insurance plan
  • Coinsurance – a percentage of coverage you share with the insurance company
  • Coverage of services – preventive, basic and major services may differ in coverage but typically follow a 100-80-50 percentage.
  • Copays – this is the cost you pay each time you visit a dentist
  • Deductible – similar to health insurance, the deductible (some are annual and some are a one-time lifetime fee) must be met before services are covered

 You can also call the dental insurance customer service number to further speak with someone on getting the best plan option. Some dental companies hire experienced insurance agents to help answer your calls, so you know you’re getting the best information for the plan you’re interested in.

Paying out-of-pocket for dental coverage

Some people may not be able to afford dental insurance. That’s OK! Dental services can indeed be covered out-of-pocket. Some dentist offices may even set up a payment plan that works for you. You can also check out community dental events or dental schools for cheaper rates.

On the other hand, if you can afford it, you may wonder if dental insurance is even worth it. Your teeth may be healthy, so you'll just pay out-of-pocket when an issue arises. This too can be done, but if you have dental insurance, you’re more likely to visit the dentist for annual checkups. Annual checkups are important because dentists can see and treat areas your toothbrush and floss cannot reach. As issues go unnoticed, more expensive procedures might be needed later down the road.

If you do decide to pay out-of-pocket for dental care, be sure to visit your dentist regularly. Not only do they help clean your teeth and scrape away plaque you’re unable to wash away, they can also spot other health issues like heart issues, cancer and even osteoporosis.

Dental discount plans

Dental discount plans are not dental insurance plans. These act just like coupons. When you need a dental service, you’ll show your discount coverage and receive a percentage or dollar amount of the procedure. These are low-cost options and include advantages to dental insurance like no waiting periods and coverage for implants even if the tooth is missing. You will however miss out on preventive cleanings & exams covered 100% by typical dental insurance plans, and you may also get more coverage with a dental insurance plan on basic and major services.

Choosing a dental insurance plan with the Direct Benefits Marketplace

Whether you’re looking for an individual, family, senior or discount dental plan, the Direct Benefits Marketplace has you covered. With top dental brands to choose from, no matter where you live, you’re sure to get a great rate and have plenty of dentist options close by.

If you have questions, our licensed insurance agents are standing by to help guide you to the best plan for you and your family. Shop the Direct Benefits Marketplace for dental insurance today and smile!