Most dental plans for seniors are like ones for young people, only they’re more focused on the kind of dental care older people might need more. That includes dentures, root canals, and any surgical procedures they might need.
While Medicare Part B does cover dental health, it only covers procedures it deems medically necessary – and it might have different opinions of what’s medically necessary and what’s not. That’s why it’s important to consider carefully what dental plan to get.
Keep reading to find some great tips that can help you choose!
Consider What’s Included in the Plan
Before you decide, consider what’s included in each plan you’re looking into. How much does each focus on routine preventative care, emergency care, and complex care issues like orthodontia?
Senior citizens are more likely to need complex dental care, so the insurance plan needs to focus on that!
There are many kinds of dental care plans out there. These include
- Indemnity plans
- Managed care plans
- Discount plans
Each plan has a benefit of its own. For example, indemnity plans cover part of your dental care expenses, and discount plans give you a discount for your treatments with a doctor who partners with them.
But at the same time, doctors aren’t obligated to charge part of their payments to your indemnity plan company. On the flip side, discount plans don’t often offer too much of a discount, even if they’re cheaper.
Know How Much It’ll Cost You
Before you subscribe to a health insurance plan, look very closely at the fine print and know exactly what it’ll cost you.
Many dental care plans and health insurance, in general, require the patient to pay a “copayment” before the benefits kick in, and the amount might be significant for you. Carefully consider what monthly premium you’re paying, and plan your finances accordingly.
Which Dentists Can You See?
There is a high chance that you already have a preferred dentist for your care, and you might be partial to a dental plan that lets you keep seeing them. Many dental plans have a list of practitioners you can see, and your options might be limited – or ones you don’t like, if you choose the wrong plan.
Paying a little extra money to be able to keep seeing someone who knows your medical history might be worth it, especially if you have any complex medical issues.
Not to mention how jarring the experience of meeting a dentist is for some people. Your parents’ or grandparents’ dentist may be best equipped at handling their moods, and that’s no easy task when dealing with senior patients with issues like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Meet Your Dentist
Keeping the last point in mind, we suggest you talk to your dentist before settling on a plan. More specifically, get them to look over the general state of your dental health, have them run a series of diagnostic x-rays on you.
Once you know that, you can weigh the pros and cons of dental plans that provide more coverage for, say, routine preventative treatments than emergency care over one that provides more coverage for complex treatments. Not only might this save you a significant amount of money, but it would also ensure that the patient gets the best care, too.
Cost is usually a huge barrier between dental care and the people who need it, so this decision isn’t one that should be taken lightly. Even if you choose the right one, keep in mind that it may take between six months to a year before the plan kicks in – especially if the patients are buying it themselves.