Does Medicare Cover Dental?

Fran
Lucy Lazarony
November 5, 2020

Medicare doesn’t cover most dental care, dental supplies and dental procedures such as cleanings, fillings, and tooth extractions. Medicare also doesn’t cover dentures, dental plates or other dental devices. Medicare Part A will pay for certain dental services that you get when you’re in a hospital. Medicare Part A also can pay for inpatient hospital care if you need to have emergency care or complicated dental procedures even though the dental care isn’t covered. This inpatient care includes treatment you get in an acute care hospital, critical access hospital, inpatient rehabilitation facility, and long-term care hospital.

Some Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Medicare Part C, offer benefits that Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B do not cover. These extra benefits include dental, vision and hearing services. So choosing a Medicare Advantage plan with a dental plan is one way to get Medicare coverage for your dental care.

Medicare Supplements help to cover certain Medicare out-of-pocket costs such as coinsurance, copayments and deductibles. Medicare Supplements do not offer additional coverage for routine dental, vision and hearing services or prescription drugs. Medicare Supplements would generally only cover dental procedures in emergency and complicated situations such as being hospitalized and needing oral surgery. So having Medicare Supplements coverage would give you some emergency dental coverage in a hospital. But Medicare Supplements would not cover routine medical care such as checkups, x-rays and cleanings.

Understanding Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare Advantage plans are a type of health plan offered by private companies that contract with Medicare to provide all the Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B benefits and services. Some Medicare Advantage plans offer additional benefits including dental services, vision, hearing and prescription drugs. Other services offered by Medicare Advantage plans include transportation to doctor visits and over-the-counter drugs and adult day care services.

Dental Care Covered by Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare Advantage dental plans may vary from plan to plan. Here are some of the services that may be covered: oral exams, cleanings, dental x-rays, diagnostic services, fillings and other restorative services, periodontics, extractions, bridges, crowns, implants and dentures.

Comparing Dental Plans with Medicare Advantage

Study the Medicare Advantage dental plan carefully. First of all, make sure the Medicare Advantage plan offers dental services. Next, take a close look at the services and the costs. What is the co-payment? How many cleanings are covered each year? How many x-rays are covered each year? Is there an annual limit on Medicare Advantage dental coverage? What is that limit? Will the dentist you go to now take Medicare Advantage dental coverage? Be sure to check.

What are your biggest dental concerns? Do you just need some routine cleanings and a few x-rays? Or do you need some bigger dental work that you have been putting off? Match your dental needs with a Medicare Advantage dental plan that best fits your needs. Check out several dental plans until you find the one with the coverage and price that you want. Be aware that Medicare Advantage dental plans with more comprehensive dental coverage may have higher monthly premiums. So you may have to pay a little more to get the kind of dental coverage that you are looking for.

Additional Services with Medicare Advantage

In addition to dental care, Medicare Advantage plans offer routine vision care, including eye glasses, lenses and frames, routine hearing services including hearing aids and prescription drugs. After reviewing the dental coverage, you’ll want to examine these services as well. It is all included in the same plan and you might as well know what you are getting even if getting dental care is more of a priority.

Review Medical Services

You may be focused on getting dental care with your Medicare Advantage plan but don’t overlook the plan’s medical coverage. Make a list of your medical needs in the upcoming year and then compare those needs to coverages offered by different Medicare Advantage plans. Are you happy with your doctor or are you ready for a change? Changing a doctor is easy to do with a brand-new Medicare Advantage plan. Choose the plan that best fits your medical needs. Compare copayments and cost of services as well as depth of coverage. It may be tricky but you want to find a Medicare Advantage plan with a medical plan and a dental plan that gives you the coverage you want at a good price.

Five-Star Ranking System

Need a little help choosing a Medicare Advantage plan? There’s a five-star ranking system from Medicare that will make the comparison shopping task a little easier. Medicare uses information from member surveys and health care providers to give overall performance star ratings to plans. A plan can get between one and five stars. A five-star rating is best and indicates an excellent rating. So when you are shopping for a Medicare Advantage plan with a dental plan, keep your eye out for the ratings of each plan, knowing that a five-star rating is best. The ratings from Medicare make it easy to compare plans based on quality and performance. Medicare updates the ratings each fall for the following year. So you don’t have to worry about a rating being out-of-date.

Help from SmartFinancial

Here’s another big help to shopping for Medicare Advantage plans with dental plans. When you shop and compare Medicare Advantage plans with SmartFinancial, you’ll be able to compare premiums and copayments for plans in your area. With SmartFinancial, you’ll be able to zero in on Medicare Advantage plans in your area right away, which will help to make your choice easier.

Open Enrollment Periods

When can you sign up? There are a couple of enrollment periods to consider. There is an open enrollment for Medicare from October 15 to December 7 each year. When you change Medicare plans during open enrollment, your new coverage begins January 1 of the following year. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, there is an open enrollment period, which runs from January 1 through March 31 of each year. Your new coverage will go into effect the first day of the month after your new plan gets your enrollment form.

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