As a senior dental care provider in Sonora, Dr. Berger wants patients to understand that it’s possible to enjoy quality oral health for a lifetime. While it’s true that most of us are more likely to develop certain oral health issues as we grow older, receiving regular dental care throughout retirement can help prevent these problems from becoming the type of chronic issues that lead to permanent tooth loss and troubling eating and speaking.
Unfortunately, if you’re hoping that Medicare will help to cover your dental expenses, you’re going to be disappointed. Ranked along with vision care and hearing aids, dental care is another necessary medical service not covered by Medicare. While you can purchase a separate individual or family dental plan, you can’t simply rely on Medicare to meet your dental care needs during retirement.
Dental Care Costs During Retirement
One of the biggest expenses that tends to continuously go up for seniors once they retire is the cost of health care, and dental care is no exception. In fact, the average male 65 and older will spend roughly $8,800 on out-of-pocket dental care costs during retirement, while the average woman 65 and older will spend roughly $9,800 during that same period. (Keep in mind that women tend to have a longer life expectancy than men.)
Why such a high number? That’s mostly due to the fact that Medicare won’t cover any type of routine dental procedure or service, such as fillings, x-rays, tooth extractions, or cleanings. It also won’t help to pay for the cost of dentures, an item many seniors will eventually require.
While that may sound bleak, there are some dental services Medicare covers, but they’re all related to other health issues. For example, if you suffer an injury to your head or face and require emergency surgery, Medicare will help to cover those costs. Additionally, if you need an oral exam prior to a medical procedure, Medicare should cover that cost as well. However, keep in mind that while Medicare may cover some dental care that’s considered non-routine, it won’t generally pay for any follow-up visits.
Managing Dental Care Costs as a Senior
While Medicare may not help to cover routine dental care, you can purchase a Medicare Advantage plan, as many offer dental coverage in addition to other increased benefits that basic Medicare won’t cover.
Another option you might want to consider during the golden days of your retirement is a dental insurance policy, the same type of plan you’d have received from either an employer or purchased through the Affordable Care Act.
If you find the cost of a dental plan too expensive, you may want to look at a dental savings plan. Dental savings plans offer discounts on common dental services, and they allow you to save whatever money you can and then decide how you want to use it.
If you’re concerned about how to afford dental care during retirement, you’re not alone. It’s vital that you not only figure out what you’re going to do for coverage, but to save additional money during your working years so that you don’t feel a squeeze of cash to cover your medical expenses. It also makes sense to understand in advance what Medicare will and what it won’t cover before you need to rely on it to keep you healthy.
As a senior dental care provider in Sonora, Dr. Berger will work with senior patients to help find an affordable solution to their dental care needs. Call today and we’ll help figure out what’s best for your oral health!