Does Medicare Cover Dental Care

Medicare Advantage Plans

Fortunately, you can get dental coverage with a Medicare Advantage plan. Medicare Advantage, or Medicare Part C, bundles the basic provisions of Original Medicare into one package that also includes extra benefits, like vision, hearing, and dental coverage.

Most Medicare Advantage plans offered by private insurers offer oral healthcare coverage to their members, but not all plans offer this benefit. Be sure to read through your plan’s statement of benefits to confirm whether or not you’re covered.

Alternatively, you could opt for a private dental insurance plan or a dental discount plan.

Private Dental Insurance

A stand-alone dental insurance plan, offered by a private insurance company, will help cover the out-of-pocket costs from dentist visits. Most private dental plans require patients to see a provider in their network. Visits to out-of-network dentists will cost more.

With a private dental insurance plan, you pay a monthly premium. When the deductible is reached, your plan will pay for approved expenses:

  • Preventive care, such as cleanings and routine annual exams, are typically fully covered.
  • Other nonroutine dental procedures, such as tooth extractions and fillings, are usually 70 to 80 percent covered.
  • Crowns, dentures, implants, and root canals are 50 percent covered.

Be sure to read through the plan’s benefits documents to confirm that the services you’re seeking are covered in whole or in part.

Dental Discount Plans

A dental discount plan is another option if you want to save money on oral care expenses that aren’t paid for by Original Medicare.

Private organizations offer dental discount cards that cover a portion of the services rendered within a network of providers. You pay an annual fee to sign onto the plan. Discounts typically range from 10 to 60 percent.

Not all dentists accept dental discount plans, so be sure to stick with participating providers.

Paying Cash for Dental Services

Some dentists offer cash discounts to patients that don’t have insurance. You could always call ahead and ask if your dentist offers this option. If so, compare this rate with the annual fee required by a dental discount plan, or the premium of a Medicare Advantage or private dental insurance plan. You might be able to walk away saving a significant amount of money.

Some providers also offer payment plans, allowing you to spread out the cost of the service over months rather than paying upfront. An interest fee may be involved, as is the case with any other personal loan or financing plan.

Ultimately when deciding on a dental plan, it’s important to think ahead and assess the potential needs you might have in the coming years. If you don’t foresee any major expenses in the near future, a private dental plan or a dental discount plan would help offset the cost of routine cleanings. But if you have more advanced needs, such as dentures or a root canal, you might want to look into a Medicare Advantage plan that covers those costs.

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