What Is Dental Insurance For Seniors
Dental insurance for seniors isn’t necessarily insurance exclusively reserved for seniors, but there are plans whose benefits are ideal for the type of issues seniors may encounter. Since Medicare doesn’t cover most dental work, seniors have to look elsewhere.
You may have coverage for complicated, inpatient dental procedures in the hospital. But for everything elselike cleanings, x-rays, implants, and denturesyou need another dental insurance policy. Many seniors don’t think they can afford dental insurance and skip it altogether, often leading to unnecessary dental work.
Can You Keep Your Health Insurance When You Retire
Most people wont have an employer-sponsored healthcare benefits plan available to them in retirement.1
A few may be able to keep their plans by paying the same as they are now.
A few will be able to keep their plan by paying more for their insurance.
And a few will be able to join a separate rollover plan through their employer or association within a short time after they retire. With this type of plan, you wont have to answer medical questions or have a medical exam to qualify. The cost of insurance is based on your age, and you can choose the coverage package you need from basic to more enhanced.
Best Value: Delta Dental
Delta Dental offers plans geared toward seniors either through the AARP and directly on their website. They provide a lot of information and resources for retirees on their site, and they were one of the few insurers we reviewed offering immediate coverage for fillings, denture repair, tooth removal, and root canals in the AARP Plan.
No waiting periods for many services
Guaranteed acceptance for AARP members
12 month waiting period for major work on some plans
PPO plans feature deductibles and maximums
Delta Dental is the leading provider of dental insurance in the U.S., offering coverage in all states and serving over 80 million Americans. Delta Dental is a not-for-profit organization made up of 39 independent Delta Dental companies. They have an AM Best financial strength rating of A .
Delta Dental has contracted with AARP to provide members with special pricing to help seniors fit dental insurance into their budgets, and there are HMO and PPO plans available. The HMO is the cheapest option, followed by the PPO B, and lastly, the PPO A is the most expensive option. The PPO plans allow you to choose any dentist, while the HMO plan utilizes a network of dental facilities.
There is no annual maximum and no deductible on the DeltaCare USA plan. The PPO plans have an annual maximum of $1,000 to $1,500 with deductibles ranging from $40 to $90 depending on service and plan.
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How Much Coverage Does Dental Insurance Provide
Dental plans require you to pay many of the same out-of-pocket costs as regular health insurance, including a monthly premium, a deductible, copays and coinsurance.
The coinsurance you pay will likely be more than youre used to paying. For example, Medicare beneficiaries are typically responsible for 20% coinsurance, but its not unusual for dental plans to require 40% coinsurance or higher.
Another important factor to consider is that dental insurance plans often have a cap , and its usually very low . After you meet the maximum, youll pay for 100% of the cost of your care.
For years when preventive care and a filling or two are the only services you need, that works just fine. But if you need more than very basic dental work, you will quickly exceed that benefit. For example, the cost of a root canal and crown together can be upward of $3,000.
There are plans that have no annual limit, but be aware that even dental insurance that bills itself as comprehensive or full coverage almost certainly will not cover 100% of the cost of your dental care.
The Bottom Line On Dental Insurance For Seniors
Dental care is expensive, whether you have insurance or not. A dental insurance plan can help you reduce those costs. It is important that you research plans you are considering carefully. If you already see a dentist you like, they may be able to recommend a plan to you based on your history and future anticipated dental needs.
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Why You May Need Dental Insurance
When we talk about paying for healthcare in retirement, we may often talk about the big stuff: an unexpected hospital stay, the rising cost of prescription drugs, long-term care.
But sometimes even the little things may throw a monkey wrench into our finances. Like a toothache we ignore because we dont have dental insurance.
Simply put, , like cleanings, fillings, tooth extractions, dentures, dental plates or other dental devices. And the need for more complexand more expensivedental care may increase as you grow older.
Dental health in older adults may be further complicated by things like bone loss, dementia, arthritis and more.1 Many older adults are on multiple medications, which may also affect oral health.
And for some, its not just a health issue. The stigma of bad teeth can affect us socially, as well. Research shows that poor oral health during the aging process can negatively impact your self-esteem or social well-being.2
We all want a smile we can be proud of, and dental insurance may give you something to smile about.
Dental Coverage Through A Medicare Advantage Plan
Some but not all Medicare Advantage plans provide dental coverage benefits. Read the plans Dental Services section carefully to avoid unpleasant surprises. The section should have a list of specific procedures covered if it just says “Medicare-covered benefits,” that means there probably isnt any extra coverage compared to original Medicare, and dental care costs are your responsibility.
You should also know that a Medicare Advantage plan will likely have DHMO-type network with a limited choice of providers, so your current dentist may not be covered. Finally, if you are thinking about switching to an Advantage plan only to get dental benefits, theres a chance you may not be as happy with the rest of your medical care: Medicare Advantage plans tend to have lower satisfaction ratings compared to original Medicare.
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How Dental Insurance Works
Dental Insurance is affordable for most seniors but it has varying levels of coverage, called class of service, within one policy. You will receive some procedures at no cost beyond your premium but will share the expense of others with your insurance company.
Dental insurance almost always picks up 100 percent of the bill for routine checkups and cleanings. Coverage for common procedures like root canals and fillings are typically covered at 80 percent, although policies with higher premiums cover up to 90 percent. You are then responsible for the remaining 10 to 20 percent of the cost, called coinsurance. Most plans cover higher-priced and more involved procedures at 50 percent, so you should have some savings set aside for what your insurance does not cover. Still, with relatively low premiums, having dental insurance is far less expensive on average than paying cash for all dental procedures.
Orthodontia is another class of service, and typically has a lifetime rather than an annual maximum. You can buy dental insurance that excludes this coverage if it is doubtful that you will need it.
Dental Hygiene And Seniors
Seniors have somewhat of a unique relationship with dental health. They tend to have specific oral hygiene complications due to medications, nutrition, and good old wear and tear. And some of those dental problems are known to cause health complications in other areas of the body.
For example, many medications seniors rely onsuch as those used for treating high blood pressure or Parkinsons diseasemay cause dry mouth, which in turn may cause cavities.
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Best Overall: Aarp Dental By Delta Dental
AARP® Dental by Delta Dental
AARP® Dental is a members-only plan operated by Delta Dental Insurance, the country’s largest dental insurance provider, serving 80 million Americans. The company has a robust network of more than 155,000 dentists and an A rating from AM Best.
AARP® Dental offers three dental insurance plan options, although plan offerings differ by state:
- Delta Dental PPO Plan A
- Delta Dental PPO Plan B
- DeltaCare® USA Plan
While each PPO plan’s exact coverage and cost will vary by policy, there are no waiting periods for fillings or root canals. Monthly premiums may also vary by policy and location. For example, the premiums for a two-person PPO Plan A and PPO Plan B in Florida have higher costs than the DeltaCare® USA plan .
While there are no waiting periods or maximums, you may pay more for certain procedures, excluding implantswhich DeltaCare® USA doesn’t cover.
AARP® Dental by Delta Dental is our top pick because of the company’s large network and ability to cover senior needs. It’s a convenient option for seniors who don’t want to travel far for quality dental care.
Seniors Are Struggling With Oral Health Issues
Theres plenty of discussion about healthcare for the aging population, but what about dental care? Your teeth, gums, and jaws are as much a part of your body as any other organs, and untreated dental and periodontal problems can be dangerous. Less than one-third of adults aged 65 and over have dental insurance, meaning much of the retired population is going without adequate dental care. Losing your teeth is not just a normal part of modern aging, its a sign of untreated health issues. About 20% of adults over 65 have untreated tooth decay and almost 68% of adults aged 65 and older have some form of gum disease. This problem can be solved with attainable, affordable, and comprehensive dental plans for retirees.
When you retired, you may have lost access to a dental plan you enjoyed for years or decades through your previous employer. It can be challenging to find affordable dental insurance independently, leaving many seniors unable to afford the costly dental and periodontal care they need. Fortunately, there are options out there. You can find and choose from a variety of dental plans for retirees, helping you greatly reduce the cost of going to a dentist and maintaining your oral health.
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Best Alternative To Traditional Insurance: Careington
- $99 per year
- Provides the best dental insurance alternative
- Nationwide network of available dentists
- Easy application process with no waiting period needed
- Extra benefits apart from oral care
If you find dental insurance for seniors expensive, try Careington. They offer affordable discount plans made specifically to compete with insurance companies. Careington was founded in 1980 by two Texan dentists who wanted to create the best dental insurance alternatives. Today, they have grown to a massive brand that provides dental discount options to more than 15 million members.
While most dental insurance policies cost $400 to $600 annually, dental discount plan options Careington start at just $99. Plus, the application process requires less work. In most cases, you can use your discount plan upon approval. You do not have to undergo a lengthy waiting period filled with several dentist examinations and tedious paperwork.
When calculating the potential savings, keep in mind that the rates depend on your total procedure costs. We recommend consulting with a certified agent for accurate details. But to give you an idea, you can cut the costs of a root canal by around 60%.
Perhaps the only downside to discount plan options is they have less coverage. Although, Careington makes up for this by boosting their plans with extra benefits for hearing, visual, and specialty prescription needswhich most dental insurance companies do not have.
Is Aarp Dental Insurance Coverage Worth It
AARP offers a choice of three dental insurance plans. Two are DPPO plans, and the other, DeltaCare USA, is called a Prepaid Plan. DeltaCare USA is very similar to a typical DHMO plan.
AARP Prepaid Plan
You pay much less for a DeltaCare USA plan , and there is no waiting period, annual deductible or annual spending limit. Its a copay plan, which means you pay a flat fee to the dentist with a coinsurance plan, youd pay a percentage of the cost of treatment.
Like DHMO plans, DeltaCare USA has distinct advantages, but is also less flexible than a DPPO plan.
For example, you have to see an assigned dentist from the DeltaCare USA Contract Dentists network. To change your dentist, you must call customer service, and the switch would be valid the following month. If you want to see a specialist, you will need to get a referral from your primary dentist, and then approval from Delta Dental.
Dental emergency? If its after business hours, and your dentist and Delta Dental customer care are unavailable, youre only covered for $100 for treatment specifically to address dental pain. Otherwise, youll need to wait until you can reach someone at Delta Dental to get approval to see another dentist.
AARP DPPO Plans
DPPO plans, including both AARP plans, are widely accepted at dental practices nationwide. Plan members will save more when they see in-network dentists, but can choose to go out-of-network. There is no referral required to see a specialist.
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Aflac Offers Dental Insurance Coverage For Your Dental Care Needs
Aflac offers network coverage for anyone 18 to 70 years old, making our plans a smart choice for seniors to take advantage of. We offer affordable coverage for preventative care, restorative services, and dental emergencies. Chat with an agent today to see how you can take charge of your dental hygiene.
Still have questions?
Is Personal Health Insurance Worth It For Retirees
If your health and dental benefits dont fall into one of the situations described above, you can also think about personal health insurance. But is it worth it? It depends on:
Where you live Because whats covered by provincial/territorial health care plans varies by province, what you might get in Ontario, could cost you hundreds of dollars in Nova Scotia. Get to know whats covered in the province where you live.
Your health If you currently have expensive prescriptions or rely on medical equipment, and those costs arent covered under your provincial/territorial plan, personal health insurance may be worth it.
Your mindset For some people the benefits of knowing theyre covered if something unexpected happens to their health outweighs the cost of insurance.
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What Does A Aarp Dental Plan Cover
Coverage varies according to the type of plan you choose, and there may be variances in the plans offered in your state. In general, though AARPs basic, preventive and restorative dental coverage is very comprehensive.
If you opt for a DPPO plan, basic and preventive are covered as soon as you meet your deductible. There is, however, a 12-month waiting period before you are covered for restorative care, which includes crowns, inlays and onlays, bridges, dentures, dental implants, Periodontics treatment or treatment for Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction . The waiting period is enforced even if you have had continuous dental coverage from another provider. And if you switch to another AARP DPPO plan, your waiting period begins again.
With the Prepaid plan, as noted above, there is no waiting period. Basic, preventive and restorative care are covered right from the start. Depending on when you enroll, your plan may not activate for over a month though. For example, joining after the 21st of August means your plan doesnt activate until October.
You can also see what dentists near you are in the plans networks, something that you should check prior to purchasing. You can see reviews of the dentists on social media just by clicking the number of dentists near you option. Checking reviews is especially critical if youre choosing the Prepaid plan option, since the Prepaid network is smaller than the DPPO one, and Prepaid members must see an in-network dentist.
Join A Dental Savings Plan Today And Get:
Savings you can trust: Use your dental plan to save 10-60% at the dentist as often as you want. No worries about annual spending limits, deductibles, or maximum lifetime benefits.
Peace of mind: DentalPlans.com offers a 30-Day, Money-Back Guarantee on all savings plans.
Friendly customer care:If you have any questions about choosing or using your plan, even if you need help finding a dentist – our U.S.-based customer service team is always happy to help.
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Pensioners Dental Services Plan
The voluntary PDSP was established by the Government of Canada in 2001. It provides dental coverage to eligible federal pensioners and their family members who qualify, including survivors. Please note that conditions may apply. Complete details on the PDSP are set out in the PDSP Plan Rules. For more information, refer to:
To learn more about online access to Sun Life Financial, the company that provides coverage for the PDSP, check out the following e-tutorials:
Disclaimer: the information in the e-tutorials provides an overview of the site and functionality. The values and benefit described in the tutorials are not specific to the PDSP.
Protect Your Smile For Years To Come With Coverage Designed Just For You
Whether youre planning for retirement or researching your Medicare options, youre probably wondering, Do I need dental coverage?What you might not know is that oral health conditions like gum disease are linked to issues like diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimers. This means that maintaining a healthy smile is part of a happy and healthy life.But Medicare plans do not cover most dental services, so the cost of dental treatments necessary to keep your smile healthy is paid totally out-of-pocket.So, shop our plans below. And whether youre ready to set sail into your golden years or looking for that little something extra, you can do so knowing your smile is in good hands.
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Delta Dental of Washington is a part of Delta Dental Plans Association. Through our national network of Delta Dental companies, we offer dental coverage in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories. © 2001 – 2022 Delta Dental of Washington.All rights reserved.
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