October 6, 2016
Why Seniors Should Not Ignore Dental Health & Dental Plans
Dental insurance can be especially relevant for senior citizens. According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health, only 60% of people above the age of 50 have dental insurance coverage and most of these people with coverage will not maintain dental insurance coverage after retirement. To make matters worse, some medications can cause dry mouth, a condition where the mouth does not produce enough saliva increasing the risk of tooth decay and infection.
It is important to obtain dental coverage of some kind to ensure the ongoing health of teeth and gums. Appropriate dental care can promote good dental health and help prevent tooth loss and resulting problems with speaking and chewing. Paying the full price of dental care without the help of insurance can discourage dental cleanings and check-ups, which could lead to serious dental health problems.
A dental plan operates similarly to regular health insurance. In exchange for a monthly premium, you are entitled to a plan’s dental benefits. These benefits usually include x-rays, cleanings, checkups, and other services that promote general dental health. Some dental insurance plans provide broader coverage than others. Likewise, some plans require larger co-payment or cost sharing from you.
“Indemnity” dental plans offer a broader selection of dental care providers than managed-care plans. With an indemnity dental insurance plan, the insurance company pays for covered services after the insurer receives a bill. This means that you may have to pay up front at the dentist’s office and then get reimbursed from your insurance company.
“Managed-care” dental insurance plans typically maintain dental provider networks. Dentists participating in the plan’s network agree to perform covered services for patients at set rates. Additionally, the dentists typically submit the claim directly to the dental insurance company. Usually you’ll have less paperwork and lower out-of-pocket costs with a managed-care dental plan than an indemnity plan.
Our parent company, eHealthInsurance Services, Inc., provides assistance for individuals and families looking for affordable dental insurance.