In the U.S., older adults are among the fastest growing population segments. Additionally, when it comes to dental care, older adults are the group with the highest risk. According to Oral Health America (https://oralhealthamerica.org/), a mere two percent of retirees have dental coverage secured by a previous employer.
This article describes many of the issues and a potential solution concerning dental insurance for seniors.
Specialized dental treatment is at times required for senior citizens. Unfortunately, as the years go by, teeth are more likely to decay, or suffer from inflammation or disease. According to the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine (https://www.dental.columbia.edu/) as well as the American Dental Association (http://www.ada.org/en/), health conditions such as stroke, respiratory problems, heart disease and diabetes can have an impact on dental health, as well as the reverse occurring.
As we get older, a specific set of dental health needs affect us. In the absence of a good oral hygiene routine and regular dental appointments, a variety of problems can set in: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention ( www.cdc.gov) say that up to 25 percent of seniors have lost all of their teeth.
Seniors are also more at risk for the following conditions:
- Gum disease
- Root decay
- Tissue inflammation (caused by dentures)
- Dry mouth
- An uneven jawbone (as a result of tooth loss)
- Thrush (an overgrowth of mouth fungus)
- Oral cancer
- Loss of teeth structure (known as Attrition and caused by mechanical forces)
The development of one of these oral health conditions can have a domino effect, causing the senior to see a decline in their health, lifestyle and general enjoyment of life; this can include pain in the mouth and gums, difficulty chewing, poor-fitting implants or dentures causing irritability, decay, cavities and missing teeth. It is also important to note that the absence of a good oral hygiene routine may result in insulin resistance and pneumonia. In fact according to Intellihealth News Service a link has been discovered between gum disease and heart disease.
A Look At Dental Insurance For Seniors
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ( www.rwjf.org) informs us that when considering all out-of-pocket health-related expenses, dental services take up a significant 27 percent – even with dental insurance!
Most medical insurance policies do not include dental insurance, that may include the policy you have from you employer. It’s possible to take out a stand-alone policy which will take care of part of your dental expenses.
Remember, dental insurance may involve a necessary wait period when it comes to costly treatments, that’s why it’s not a good idea to wait until you are in need of dental treatment before taking out a dental insurance policy.
Why Standard Dental Policies Are Both Costly And Limited
Standard individual dental insurance plans are generally available for a monthly fee. Usually the policy will have you covered for the following treatments, often carried out by your family dentist:
- Cleaning and examinations at regular intervals. This is usually twice a year.
- Necessary extractions and fillings. Your dental insurance plan will likely require you to engage in a co-payment, deductible or co-insurance if you need an extraction (a tooth to be removed) or a filling (decay removal from a tooth, followed by the use of a bonding material to fill the tooth).
- X-Rays. From time to time your dentist may take bitewing x-rays. Your dental insurance plan may fully cover this cost, or you may need to make a co-payment. For additional x-rays you may be required to make a co-payment, co-insurance or deductible.
- Specific repairs. For restorative procedures, for example crowns, bridges, deep cleaning and root canals, some standard individual dental insurance plans may cover part of the cost. However most dental insurance plans will require a co-payment, co-insurance or deductible. If you do want to be covered for such costly procedures, you should consult various insurers to find a policy which includes such cover.
Other Types Of Dental Plans
For seniors, two common individual dental insurance plans exist:
Managed-care plan (usually this is the preferred provider organization, also known as PPO) decide on fees with certain providers through negotiation. Such providers complete all paperwork for you and will only require you to provide your necessary portion of the cost. At times the policy will allow for a treatment which is performed by an out-of-network provider, though this is often when the amount is lower.
A wider choice of providers are covered under Indemnity plans, often allowing you to choose which provider you see. The down-side however, is that normally the patient has to foot the entire bill, then later complete the paperwork to file a claim and receive the appropriate reimbursement.
A Look At The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) And Senior Dental Care
The ACA (Affordable Care Act or Obamacare) doesn’t put a requirement on adults to take out dental insurance, so only a handful of the dental plans you will see on the Marketplace actually offer dental care benefits.
Stand-alone dental plans cannot be combined with government subsidies.
There are several state-run marketplaces that let people take out stand-alone dental plans but do not insist that they also take out a health insurance policy.
Insurance companies, brokers and agents are also sources for dental insurance plans.
An Overview Of Senior Dental Care And Medicare
For adults at age 65 and above, Medicare is the biggest health insurance provider, they DO NOT cover routine dental care. The only time that Medicare will cover dental needs are when they are directly linked to health care needs. The private insurance plan Medigap, a policy which can be used to supplement Medicare, does not include dental coverage, however dental benefits are included in some of the care plans by private Medicare Advantage.
People who have Medicare have a legal right to buy dental plans on the ACA Marketplace, however the purchase process is far from simple. As we mentioned above, subsidies are not available when a stand-alone dental plan is in place. In the states the federal government run the ACA Marketplace, meaning that only people who purchase health insurance can also purchase dental coverage.
Senior Dental Care And Medicaid
For Americans, including seniors, who have an income below a certain threshold, the federal-state partnership program Medicaid covers health care needs.
The federal law states that for state Medicaid programs, dental benefits are optional. When it comes to adult dental benefits, individual states can include this in the Medicaid programs. Such adult dental benefits are provided by many states; that being said the extent and status can vary significantly from one state to another, as well as from one year to another. The amount of state funds available to invest in such support has a direct impact on why this varies.
Comprehensive dental benefits are currently offered by 21 states.
Discount Dental Plans – A Timely and Cost-Effective Alternative
As a very cost-effective and convenient alternative to costly and limited dental insurance, the AmeriPlan discount dental plan – Dental Plus – provides the opportunity to get desperately needed dental care which is both affordable and covers oral health problems that already exist.
AmeriPlan Dental Plus discount dental plan also covers pre-existing conditions (with the exception of orthodontics in progress).
Many seniors have been delaying their current dental health problems due to the expense. They may then take a “traditional” insurance plan in the hope that they will be in a position to receive the necessary dental care. The bad news is that, in general, traditional dental insurance will not provide coverage for a condition which already existed – a pre-existing condition.
In addition, teeth that were lost before the dental insurance policy was purchased will not be covered for replacement under traditional dental insurance plans.
Not so with the AmeriPlan Dental Plus discount dental plan!
When it comes to a clever and sensible substitute for traditional dental insurance plans, dental discount plans like the AmeriPlan Dental Plus prove very attractive. In exchange for a small reasonable monthly premium, members can make use of a large (80,000+) dentist network across the USA, all of whom have agreed to provide members with a highly discounted rate for virtually all dental treatments.
The exact amount of savings will vary according to the treatment needed and the chosen dentist. However the saving generally falls into the range of 30 – 60 percent.
Pay The Dentist Directly – And Save Thousands Of Dollars On Dental Services
Since you pay the dentist the agreed discounted rate after treatment, you don’t need to worry about filing a claim.
No forms, no waiting weeks to hear from the insurance company to find out if your dental work was covered. You know what the exact highly discounted cost will be right now!
There is no annual benefit limit with the AmeriPlan Dental Plus discount dental plan. Unlike traditional dental insurance plans which slap a severe limit on the dental work they will pay for in a given year (normally under $2,000), discount dental plans have no limits!
Save More On Dental Expenses – Without Dental Insurance!
The AmeriPlan Discount Dental Plan isn’t insurance. Dentists in our plan have agreed to give our members big discounts on most dental services (up to 64%).
- There is no maximum benefit amount.
- There is no waiting period.
- Braces ARE covered (64% discount)
- Your ENTIRE HOUSEHOLD is covered.
- There are over 80,000 dentists in the AmeriPlan Dental Plus program. Click HERE and see which dentists are near you.
- And the cost is just a fraction of a traditional dental insurance policy.
- Plus, you’ll get some really great additional benefits such as
- Vision (big discounts on eyeglasses)
- Prescription Medications (good at thousands of big-name pharmacies across the USA)
- Hearing aid discounts
- Big discounts on chiropractic services
Click HERE to get more details. Or just call us, toll-free at 1-855-878-7774.
Before you sign up for an expensive dental insurance policy that has limited coverage and a big waiting period, find out if a discount dental plan is a good choice for you.
Take a few moments to find out more about the Ameriplan dental and healthcare plans by clicking HERE. We think you’ll be amazed at the cost savings, the fact that we cover your whole household, and that pre-existing conditions are welcomed! Give us a call at 1-855-878-7774 to find out if the AmeriPlan Dental Plus is for you.
AmeriPlan discount health and dental plans are designed to save you money while providing the health and dental care you and your family needs. Get started now and you’ll be amazed at the level of medical and dental services and the low cost.
*The merchants and the savings associated with their respective products and/or services offered are subject to change without notice.
The purpose of this article has been for information purposes only. Information found in it should not be used as an alternative to professional medical advice. For diagnosis of a condition, treatment, decisions regarding correct medication, as well as taking action to change diet or exercise, consultation with your medical provider is always necessary. The information included in this article outlines only several of the factors involved in selecting insurance and hence may not give a correct reflection of the services of a specific insurance product. If you are considering purchase of an insurance policy, always take time to carefully check the provisions.