In today’s world, seniors are enjoying longer, healthier lives than ever before. If your senior clients have reached the age of 65, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts they may have an additional 19.5 years ahead of them. However, one aspect of aging that can’t be ignored is the importance of dental care. Without a dental plan, seniors might find themselves dipping into their retirement savings or relying on credit cards to cover unexpected dental expenses.
As we age, we often face unexpected health issues such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, respiratory problems, and obesity. But it’s not just these common concerns that seniors need to worry about; oral health changes can also become a source of worry. After a lifetime of taking care of their teeth, seniors are rightfully concerned about maintaining good dental health. In this blog post, we’ll explore four dental plan solutions that can help address the unique dental care needs of seniors.
1. Dental Coverage within Medicare Plans – Original Medicare plans, unfortunately, do not cover routine dental exams. This coverage gap can leave seniors with a significant dental care deficit. To address this issue, seniors should consider a Medicare Advantage plan. These plans typically include coverage for two annual dental exams and cleanings. However, there may be limitations on accepted dental providers, and options for network savings can be limited. Additionally, these plans may provide only limited assistance for more comprehensive dental procedures like fillings, crowns, bridges, or implants, leaving seniors to foot the bill for these treatments.
It’s important to note that switching Medicare Advantage plans can result in the loss of previously enjoyed benefits, requiring seniors to start from scratch.
2. Dental Discount Plans – An alternative option for seniors is a dental discount plan, sometimes referred to as a dental savings plan. It’s essential to clarify that a dental discount plan is not insurance but rather a membership plan. Members pay an annual fee instead of a monthly premium and receive a dental discount card, which they can use at participating dentists to access reduced dental costs. However, it’s crucial to verify that the client’s chosen dentist accepts the discount card and offers reduced rates on dental procedures.
3. Employer-Sponsored Dental Coverage – Seniors who continue to work full-time often maintain their employer-sponsored dental benefits for as long as possible. These benefits can vary, so it’s crucial to help your clients understand their options:
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO): PPO plans offer access to a wide network of dental providers. Sticking with in-network dentists ensures the most significant cost savings, as network providers agree to charge lower fees for covered dental procedures. Out-of-network benefits may differ.
Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO): DHMO dentists receive monthly payments in exchange for providing covered dental services at no or low cost to DHMO patients. While DHMO plans may have lower costs than PPO plans, patients are limited to visiting approved network dentists.
Indemnity Insurance Plan: With a traditional indemnity dental plan, members can see any dentist and receive coverage. These plans might have higher costs, but the flexibility may justify the expense. Members pay for any costs not covered by the plan at the dentist’s usual fee.
4. Individual Dental Plans – While most seniors plan to continue working past age 65, reducing their work hours or transitioning to part-time work could lead to the loss of employer-sponsored dental benefits. In such cases, guiding your senior clients to find the right individual dental plan is crucial.
Individual dental insurance provides seniors with coverage exactly when they need it. They can use the plan right away for preventive care and basic procedures. Major expenses like crowns, bridges, or root canals may have a waiting period, but most plans include access to dental network providers for added savings.
The cost of individual dental insurance typically entails a reasonable monthly fee, making it a cost-effective choice. This type of coverage offers peace of mind, knowing that it will contribute to expenses related to fillings, crowns, and root canals. By scheduling regular preventive dental visits, seniors can avoid costly procedures or, at the very least, detect them in their early stages.
In conclusion, as seniors embark on their extended golden years, ensuring proper dental care is a vital component of their overall health and well-being. By exploring these four senior dental plan solutions, you can maintain your beautiful smiles and financial security in your retirement years. Don’t let dental care fall by the wayside—consider these options to make sure you enjoy the best of your senior years.
Ashford Insurance offers several Dental insurance plans.
Photo by Anna Shvets