Dental health affects more than just your teeth. In fact, Harvard Health notes that those with gum disease have an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and other serious cardiovascular health events. Yet Original Medicare does not cover routine dental care, dental implants, or fillings. But that doesn’t mean that dental care is completely out of the question. These options can help you get the dental coverage you need while on Medicare.
Medicare Advantage is private insurance available through Medicare. It’s an alternative to Original Medicare Parts A and B, and many Advantage plans provide expanded offerings beyond traditional Medicare coverage.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, each insurer decides which benefits to offer in their Medicare Advantage plans—as long as each plan covers everything that Original Medicare covers, with the exception of hospice care.
This means that the expanded coverage offered by Medicare Advantage plans may include dental care. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 60% of Medicare Advantage enrollees had some form of dental coverage in 2016.
Because not all Medicare Advantage plans offer dental coverage, it is important to review plan documents before enrolling in your chosen plan.
Supplemental Dental Insurance
You don’t have to get dental coverage through Medicare. One alternative is purchasing a private dental insurance policy designed specifically for Medicare recipients.
The particular policies for which you are eligible vary from state to state, so be sure to research local options. In some cases, your employer or an organization of which you are a member may offer a discount on supplemental dental insurance.
In-Hospital Dental Coverage
According to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, while Original Medicare won’t cover routine or basic dental care, it will cover certain dental services that you may need while hospitalized. Original Medicare Part A will also cover an inpatient hospital stay for emergency or complex dental procedures.
Paying Out of Pocket
You can also consider paying for dental care out of pocket by setting aside a set sum of money each month or joining a local dentist’s care plan.
Not all dentists offer care plans, but certain chains and individual practitioners offer financing and payment plan options for a variety of dental procedures. Research your local options for details.
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Interested in learning more about Medicare, Medigap, and Medicare Advantage plans? WebMD Connect to Care Advisors may be able to help.