Understanding Dental Insurance:
Dental costs are notoriously expensive, especially if you do not hold the proper insurance coverage. A dental insurance policy will not cover all costs associated with dental care. Typically the policy will cover cleanings and preventive services at 100%, basic restorative (cavities, fillings) at 80%, and major restorative (root canals, surgery) at 50% up to an annual limit. Furthermore there are typically waiting periods of 6 months to a year between the time you purchase the policy and when benefits begin. The waiting periods can be waived if you already have dental insurance and are simply switching policies.
Is Dental Insurance a good deal?
Yes it is actually. Consider the following: A decent dental plan can be purchased for around 50 bucks a month which equals 600 bucks a year. The biannual cleanings generally run about 400 bucks a year. The dental plan will reimburse these expenses 100%. So you’re really only out of pocket about 200 bucks a year (17 bucks a month) if you have no further expenses. Let’s say you then have a cavity that needs to be addressed – approximately 400 bucks for that – covered at 80% means the insurance would pay 320 bucks and suddenly you’re in the black on your insurance costs vs what you would have paid the dentist directly without the insurance.
Medicare & Dental Insurance:
Medicare does not cover dental expenses. If you have straight medicare with a supplement you need to buy a separate dental plan to have any coverage at all. Most medicare advantage plans provide basic dental coverage and or ways to add coverage to the plan through the company. The dental coverage provided by your medicare advantage plan can be limited to basic services so make sure you understand what is and is not covered under your plan.
If you are on Medicare and dental is a major concern….. Enroll in a medicare advantage plan that has good dental reimbursement features. These plans can be had for zero premium – that’s right ! you don’t have to pay for it. Then purchase a stand alone dental plan in addition to the advantage plan. When you go to the dentist use the benefits of the stand alone dental plan then submit the balance that you have to pay to the medicare advantage plan for reimbursement. By combining the two programs you can stretch the amount of coverage significantly for relatively low monthly out of pocket expense.
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