As we get older, one of the most common expenses we have is dental work. Dental work and surgeries can become expensive, especially the more extensive the work becomes. In fact, oral expenses can be a significant portion of many retirees’ budgets. Unless you have a plan for paying for these bills, it can really affect your bank account.
One of the most common misconceptions about Medicare is that it pays for dental care and dental work. Since it’s beginning, Medicare has never paid for any dental procedures, but in 1980, it did make an amendment for inpatient hospital services that includes dental services. Traditional Medicare and just about every supplemental plan will not pay for any cleanings, fillings, checkups, dentures, and most other dental health procedures. Just about any oral health service isn’t going to be covered under your Medicare plan such as Medigap Plan F or Medigap Plan G. If you need to know more concerning Medigap plans or have questions about some Medicare myths you have heard, we can help!
Many Medicare enrollees are forced to buy dentures later in life. While they may not know it, dentures can quickly drain a retirement savings account. The average cost of a full set of dentures is around $1,500. Some dentures can go up into the $10,000 range. None of these expenses will be covered by any original Medicare plans.
Moreover, problems you’re having inside your mouth is going can impact your overall health. There are several situations where this could happen – such as oral cancers or fractures in your jaw that require oral surgery. In these cases, Medicare will pay their part of the procedures, and Part A will pay for the hospital portions. Some of the other exemptions are if you end up with an infection after you have a tooth pull, or you require some observation because of a serious condition that can inflict your health. When Medicare does pay, a Medigap plan will also pay their portion of covered expenses.
One thing to be noted is if you have any of these procedures, Medicare will pay for the services, but will not pay for any follow-up visits for the surgeries. Many enrollees have been left with expensive bills because they assumed that Medicare would also pay for the follow-up visits to the doctor.
Dental Coverage Under Medicare
If you want dental coverage under a Medicare plan, there are a few options. The first is to enroll into a Medicare Advantage plan. Advantage plans, also called Medicare Part C, can include benefits like dental checkups or some dental services. In the past, Advantage plans had offered pretty extensive dental benefits; however, in recent years, these benefits have been slashed considerably or eliminated completely. Unlike Medigap policies, Advantage plans aren’t standardized across the nation, meaning that each one is going to offer different benefits. If you would like dental coverage through a Medicare Advantage Plan, you will have to contact the specific plan or a broker who works with the plan to get detailed information.
Another way that you can have dental coverage is through a dental insurance plan. This is the more common ways to ensure that you aren’t left with an expensive fee because of dental expenses. If you expect to have extensive dental work, then purchasing a dental insurance policy could be worth the monthly premiums.
If you’ve ever been told that Medicare will cover the cost of dental health, like getting dentures, don’t believe it. Medicare rarely will ever pay for any oral health services. Unless you fall under particular circumstances, just assume that you will be left paying the bill for any oral health services, unless you decide to buy some supplemental policy.
MedicareWallet.com is an unbiased, online resource for individuals turning 65 or already on Medicare. Our utmost goal is to provide information in a way that is user-focused, informative and ethical. With a combined 40 years of experience in the Medicare market, we can answer any questions about Medicare and Medigap insurance. Feel free to reach out to us at 800.376.0824 or by email at [email protected].