As we age, much of our body begins to show signs of wear and tear and the teeth and gums are not immune to this phenomenon. In fact, as of December 2011, a whopping 42% of American seniors had endured some extent of tooth loss and were wearing dentures or implants to compensate. This is just one measure of oral health, but it does underscore the specific need that seniors have to care for their teeth and gums. It’s also likely the reason why many have shown interest in finding dental insurance for seniors.
Get Dental Insurance Before You Need It
As with any insurance, it’s a good idea to purchase a dental plan before you’re facing a crisis. By buying dental insurance for seniors before problems arise, you’ll generally get a better rate. However, if you already suspect that you need serious dental work, it still makes sense to apply. That’s because once you’re approved, the plan may potentially save you some money by allowing you to purchase the dental services you need at the insurance company’s lower, negotiated rates. But be warned: you may pay much higher premiums or be rejected outright if dental problems have already manifest themselves.
4 Basic Steps to Research and Buy Dental Insurance for Seniors
Purchasing dental insurance for seniors is similar to buying a dental plan for someone of any age. In fact, some insurance companies have plans designed specifically for seniors, but others allow seniors to purchase the same dental plans as everyone else. Regardless, the research and purchasing process can be accomplished in the following four basic steps.
1. Research plans online to narrow them down. Take note that many procedures are covered at low percentages or not covered at all. Pay attention to the monthly premiums and deductibles.
2. Make a few phone calls to local dentists. If you have a favorite or two, find out which plans they accept. Most insurance plans have preferred providers and if you don’t go to someone on their list, they won’t pay for anything. Don’t have a favorite dentist? Ask some friends whose opinions you trust. If they like the dentist, maybe you will to.
3. Narrow down your plans to a hand full of selections that offer to pay for services and procedures you value, and that include your favorite or recommended local dentists on their list of preferred providers.
4. Contact a licensed agent to make your final selection. They can help you understand any remaining points of confusion you may have about the plan’s costs, covered procedures, or any weaknesses that may not have been apparent at first glance. See our Senior65 Contact page to get in touch with a licensed agent who can help.
Insurance Buyer Beware
There are all kinds of dental insurance plans for seniors out there and they can be tricky. For example, some may cover basic cleanings only, but not x-rays or fillings. Others may offer a straight discount across-the-board on all dental procedures. Still others may take months to kick in or require you to fulfill a large deductible each year before they pay for anything. It’s up to you to make sure the plan is cost effective. But remember, that’s where we can help you sort through the details—at no charge to you at all. Now that’s worth a big, toothy smile!Read More