What’s your plan for retiree dental care?

Most people believe Medicare covers dental – nope – Medicare does not! Some Medicare Advantage plans do (and some don’t – you need to check). Some retirees may have employer provided dental coverage. Check to see if it will cover things beyond maintenance care (cleanings and x-rays) that most plans are limited to.

Here’s the problem. As we age, we begin to have issues with teeth and gums beyond what simple brushing can resolve. Periodontal disease sets in the older we get. “In the United States nearly half of those over the age of 30 are affected to some degree, while about 70% of those over the age of 65 have the condition. Males are affected more often than females.”

You can get an idea of average procedure costs by zip code by going to https://www.fairhealthconsumer.org/ for either medical or dental procedures.

You can research dental plans on http://www.nadp.org/. Keep in mind that finding the cheapest plan may mean that procedures you need, because of your unique health and dental history, are not covered. Pay attention and get the plan you need for your situation. A few more dollars in premium may save you a lot more when a procedure you may eventually need comes along.

Asking your dentist about discounts and low cost payment plans on procedures may help too.

The moral of the story is to not assume your unique dental needs are covered by basic plans. You may need more coverage than that. This is a common area that people tend not to think about or plan for, until they’re surprised – and then they pay attention after that if it’s not too late.

Photo by Cristian Newman on Stocksnap.

2 Responses to What’s your plan for retiree dental care?

  1. A-Shelley Giordano September 19, 2018 at 7:53 pm #

    Hi Larry,

    Thank you for bringing attention to this challenge in retirement. By chance, do you have any data on how much money the average retiree must spend on dental care?
    Warm regards, Shelley Giordano

    • Larry Frank, Sr. September 20, 2018 at 1:57 pm #

      Hi Shelley,

      I haven’t seen data specifically on dental care. This said, just like medical expenses, I think it is best to evaluate the specifics of each retiree since dental health, like medical health, is very individual specific (even between couples). Using national averages tends to overestimate expenses for the healthy, and underestimate expenses for those less healthy. Using those specific numbers unique to each retiree’s situation for their retirement income (total of all expenses including these, PLUS the often forgotten taxes to support that standard of living) plan is a better approach as a planner.

      Thanks for the comment and great question!
      Larry

Leave a Reply