Medicare won’t cover this key expense, and it’s eating into retirees’ wallets
- Generally, the federal retiree health-care program doesn’t cover most dental care, including cleanings and fillings.
- Nearly 7 out of 10 Medicare beneficiaries have no dental coverage at all, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Half go without seeing a dentist.
- The average Medicare enrollee spent an average $922 in out-of-pocket dental costs.
Dental costs can take a huge bite out of seniors’ finances, even if they have Medicare.
In all, 65 percent of Medicare beneficiaries, or 37 million people, have no dental coverage, according to recent data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The federal retiree health-care program doesn’t pay for cleanings, fillings, crowns or dentures — all of which are services seniors are likely to need.
Those who do have dental care coverage have obtained it through private Medicare Advantage plans, Medicaid and other private plans, including workplace retiree coverage and individually purchased dental insurance, Kaiser found.
Dental insurance can help lighten the load of costly procedures, but it doesn’t prevent patients from shelling out large sums.
Kaiser gave the example of a 72-year-old patient who received treatment for tooth decay, three fillings and two crowns. This same patient received additional periodontal maintenance six months later.
Without insurance, he’d be shelling out an estimated $4,300 that year, Kaiser found.
However, even with dental coverage via Medicare Advantage, this same patient would be on the hook for up to $3,300.
That’s because insured patients often are still on the hook for deductibles and coinsurance — in which the client is responsible for a percentage of costs — and annual caps on what the plan pays.
Considering the fact that deductibles and other costs can be high, dental coverage may only be worthwhile if you plan the details of your care, said Carolyn McClanahan, a physician and director of financial planning at Life Planning Partners in Jacksonville, Florida.
Consider that Medicare Advantage enrollees with access to dental benefits are shelling out an additional premium, averaging about $284 a year, according to Kaiser. Read More..