Medicare Doesn’t Cover Dentures. So What Does?
Unfortunately original Medicare does not cover dental necessities, and that includes dentures. This varies from state to state, and there may be other types of Medicare plans with dental coverage. Another option is to supplement your Medicare plan with other forms of low cost dental insurance. If you suspect you’re going to need dentures soon, make sure to choose one that includes denture coverage. Here’s a look at some of those low cost plans that can supplement your Medicare.
Original Medicare refers to parts A and B, while Medicare Advantage is considered part C. While Original Medicare doesn’t provide any dental coverage, Medicare Advantage can come with a lot of other great benefits. Medicare Part A, Hospital Insurance, will cover “certain dental services that you get when you're in a hospital… [and may provide coverage] if you need to have emergency or complicated dental procedures.” Basically, this means that if something happens that destroys your jaw and thus teeth, it is possible that your Original Medicare may provide coverage for certain parts of dental procedures. For example, if you needed radiation for jaw cancer, and that required tooth extraction, that would be covered under part A.
Advantage Plans with Premiums Under $100
It depends on the area you live in, but Humana, Anthem, Kaiser Permanente Senior, and AARP all have options for different kinds of insurance coverage to supplement your Medicare. These may not only provide dental and denture coverage, but they can provide other great benefits like vision coverage.
Humana offers several different plans, starting at $0 and going as high as about $100 premiums. It’s important to understand the details of the plan you’re looking at when choosing one, because the lower the cost, the less likely they are to offer much help with dentures or any other kind of dental services. Copays tend to stay around $50 for in-network dentists for specific dental needs. Anthems and Kaiser Permanente Senior both have $0-$100 plans but they cover very little beyond a yearly exam.
Perhaps the best choice—AARP offers plans through Delta Dental Insurance, and if you are already a member of AARP then you are guaranteed acceptance. Plans start with premiums as low as $0 and tend to stay under $40, but to actually receive dental benefits, you have to pay an extra $13 a month. That’s less than $160 a year for “diagnostic and preventive services, including basic and major dental services at fixed copays.” Make sure to ask your insurance agent exactly what the copays are, and you can always change your plan the next year to make it fit more precisely with what you need.
Ultimately, your best option is to talk to your Medicare provider or another insurance agent to get additional coverage set up.
Dental Discount Cards
Once you get your dentures, you may find that your dental needs go down considerably! Dental discount cards are not dental coverage, but they are a great way to pay less for dental and denture care. You pay a one time or yearly fee to access the discount card. From there you are limited to specific dentists that provide their services at a less expensive rate for those members of the discount service. If you will continue to need your normal dental services, it may be worthwhile to enter into one of the discount services.