Best Dental Insurance For Seniors Of 2021
- Best for Low Deductible: Spirit Dental
- Best for Seniors on Medicare: Aetna
- Best for Preventative Care: United Healthcare
- No. of plans: 6 plans available
- Coverage: The range of annual coverage limit is from $1,000 to $2,500
- Availability: in 14 states
Why We Chose It: Anthem is the best dental insurance plan overall for seniors. It has six affordable plans with low deductibles that provide a generous annual maximum for participants and no waiting periods for preventative care.
$1,000 to $2,500 in annual maximum between 6
6-month waiting period for major services
Waiting period waived with proof of previous coverage
Several Medicare Advantage Plans with dental coverage
Rates vary based on geography and demographics
The most affordable policy doesnt cover dentures, crowns, or bridges
Anthem is an excellent provider with an extensive Dental Prime network. Established in the mid-1940s, the company has won numerous awards, including a place on Fortunes the Worlds Most Admired Companies for 2020. The Indianapolis-based insurer offers plans both directly and through employers and is available in most states.
Dental Insurance Is Like Triple A For Your Mouth
Now, lets say you do have dental insurance. Thats certainly more favorable than the alternative, but its hardly ideal. If you undergo a serious procedure, youll likely still be left with a hefty bill.
Dental insurance, unlike medical, is not regulated and it tends to be very constrained, says Powell. The annual maximum benefit is not that high, and theres usually some sort of deductible.
And its a relatively new type of insurance, with Dr. Bobbi Stanley, a dentist, noting that it was first introduced some 60 years ago. Dental work was a fee for service agreement until the mid-50s when dental insurance was introduced in California, says Dr. Stanley. rose in popularity throughout the 60s and had a reimbursement of about $1000.
Inflation may have catapulted the worth of the dollar over the decades, but the reimbursement rate for dental insurance hasnt budged much. Most dental insurance companies have an maximum of $1,500.00, says Dr. Anil Dwivedi, a general dentist with a specialty in anesthesiology.
Clearly the purpose of dental insurance is not to cover dire issues, but to prevent them by encouraging regular maintenance. Dr. Powell likens dental plans to Triple A for your mouth,” highlighting that “it’s not like car insurance , but it includes a few free oil changes.
Dr. Powell asserts that one major reason dental plans tend to be so minimal in what they cover, is because people dont want to shell out higher premiums.
Limitations Of Dental Insurance Plans
Every plan has a cap on what it will pay during a plan year, and for many that cap is quite low. This is the annual maximum. You pay all expenses that go beyond that amount. About half of dental PPOs offer annual maximums of less than $1,500. If thatâs your plan, youâd be responsible for all expenses above $1,500. If you need a crown, a root canal, or oral surgery, you can reach the maximum quickly.
Thereâs generally a separate lifetime maximum for orthodontics costs.
Some plans may totally exclude certain services or treatment to lower costs. Know specifically what services the plan covers and excludes.
But there are certain limitations and exclusions in most dental insurance plans that are designed to keep dentistry’s costs from going up without penalizing the patient. All plans exclude experimental procedures and services not performed by or under the supervision of a dentist, but there may be some less obvious exclusions. Sometimes, dental coverage and medical health insurance may overlap. Read and understand the conditions of your dental insurance plan. Exclusions in your dental plan may be covered by your medical insurance.
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You Can Bill Your Medical Insurance For Some Dental Treatments
But, did you know that some dental treatments may be covered by your medical insurance?
If its determined that a health-related situation is the cause of your dental issue, your medical insurance may cover all or part of the treatment.
We want to help you afford the dental treatment you need.
So, our team recently took a very specialized training required for billing medical insurance claims on your behalf.
What did we learn?
- How to identify cases that are covered by medical insurance
- What questions to ask to determine eligibility
- How we can help you get the treatment you need
In other words:
We learned how to get the right information to determine if your case can be medically billed and how to make sure you get the full benefits for which you qualify.
Which Form Is Needed When Submitting Claims To A Medical Payor
Accuracy in claim submission is vital whether using electronic claims submission or submitting manual claims. Required claim forms provide some primary guidance when submitting a claim to a health insurance company.
The explanation of benefits your patient receives should outline coverage details. This information helps determine the procedures medical necessity prior to coverage approval.
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How To Choose The Best Dental Insurance For Seniors
While no dental insurance specifies it is only for seniors, some dental insurance policies are better for seniors than others. For example, some cover preventative care one day one with no deductible, but nothing else. Others cover preventative and other routine restorative treatments like fillings also. And some policies are more comprehensive and cover common treatments for seniors, like crowns, bridges, and dentures.
There are several critical elements to consider when comparison shopping for the best dental insurance for seniors in 2021. Here are a few of the most essential factors:
Does Insurance Cover Snoring Mouthpieces
It is important to know that while most medical insurers do offer coverage for oral appliances with a diagnosis of OSA, snoring alone is not a covered benefit. Custom mouthpieces for OSA may be considered medically necessary for mild to moderate OSA. Also, oral appliances are generally covered for severe OSA if the patient cannot tolerate CPAP or in some cases if the patient refuses CPAP.
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Can We Bill Follow
Yes, you can bill commercial carriers, using a medical office visit code, for the adjustments to the oral appliance. Most carriers bundle the first 90 days of adjustments into the code for the custom appliance .
With the right tools to navigate medical insurance billing, you can help more of your patients receive the care they need saving lives and relationships. Your patients will thank you!
Rose Nierman, RDH, is the Founder and CEO of Nierman Practice Management, an educational and software company for Medical Billing for Dentists, TMD and Dental Sleep Medicine advanced treatment, and co-founder of the SCOPE Institute, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the advancement of sleep apnea, craniofacial pain treatment, and medical billing within dentistry. Rose and her team of clinical and medical billing experts can be reached at or at 1-800-879-6468
Dental Procedures Medical Insurance May Pay:
With all the opportunity there is to help patients who have medical-related symptoms, infection, obstructive sleep apnea, TMJ disorder, or oral surgeries, its essential for the dental office to have their ducks in a row to maximize medical insurance.
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How Long Will I Wait Before I Can Claim On Dental Health Insurance
The amount of time youll have to wait before being able to claim dental will vary depending on which health fund youre with and what treatment youre claiming on.
Each health fund sets its own waiting periods for extras policies. Heres how long typical waiting periods might be for dental cover:
Compare health insurance through our free comparison service today.
Whats Not Covered By Dental Insurance
It depends on the dental insurance plan. Basic plans may only cover two visits to the dentist per year for an examination and cleaning, in addition to simple fillings. Enhanced plans may pay for part of expensive restorative treatments like crowns and bridges. Some even cover dentures and orthodontics, although there is usually a total dollar limit to how much they will pay per year these are known as annual maximums. Of course, the premiums on enhanced plans are much higher than basic plans.
If you are considering purchasing a dental insurance plan, carefully review what is included in your policy so that you can determine if it is worthwhile.
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Expected Costs For A Dental Implant
Youll likely have to pay something out of pocket for your dental implants. In general, a dental implant for one tooth could cost between $4,300 to $6,500. That will change based on your insurance coverage, your needs and other factors. To determine the expected costs with dental implant insurance, speak with your clinician and your insurance provider and factor in:
- Your insurances annual maximum
- Coinsurance or copayments
- Your dental implant procedure deductible
Along with those insurance factors, youll have to think about your specific treatment needs. Whether or not you have insurance, these factors also influence the expected costs of a dental implant procedure:
- How many dental implants you need
- The type of dental implants your clinician uses
- How many teeth need to be replaced
- The type of artificial teeth your clinician uses
- The need for procedures, such as an extraction, prior to your implants
- What, if any, alternatives your clinician suggests
- Your location and your clinicians office location
Most Medical Insurances Cover Dental Work As A Result Of Trauma
Sadly, for many individuals, medical insurance doesnt always cover necessary dental work that repairs teeth and keeps your mouth healthy for years to come. However, an injury is a different situation. Christopher R. Pottorff, DMD, of Advanced Dental & Implant Care in Algonquin, treats patients who require dental work as a result of trauma. In most cases, medical insurance covers these procedures.
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Dental Implants And Insurance: Everything You Need To Know
Once youve looked into dental implants and decided if theyre right for you, consider your treatment options. For many, a deciding factor is if their insurance helps cover the dental implants. Everyones plans and treatment solutions differ, so youll need to learn about dental implants and insurance to help you make your decision.
For more information about dental implant financing options, youll need to examine your insurance coverage. Well cover what you need to know about dental implants and insurance in the below guide to help get you started.
How Much Does A Dental Payment Plan Cost
The cost depends on the plan you choose and your oral health.
The monthly fee is set by your dentist, based on an examination of your dental needs.
If you choose a comprehensive plan, your dentist will examine you. Depending on how much time, care and treatment youll need over the year theyll put you in a band with a set fee.
You could move up or down between fee bands if your oral health improves or deteriorates. You might also have to pay a joining fee.
As youre paying the dentist directly, be aware that prices might vary widely between practices.
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Adult & Child Dental Insurance In The Marketplace
Under the health care law, dental insurance is treated differently for adults and children 18 and under.
- Dental coverage is an essential health benefit for children. This means if youre getting health coverage for someone 18 or younger, dental coverage must be available for your child either as part of a health plan or as a stand-alone plan. Note: While dental coverage for children must be available to you, you dont have to buy it.
- Dental coverage isn’t an essential health benefit for adults. Insurers dont have to offer adult dental coverage.
What Is The Coverage Structure
Certain insurance plans may cover 50% of dental implant costs, but that percentage varies for other procedures. Your insurance could also cover 100% of exams and 80% of tooth extractions. Those could be necessary steps for your dental implant procedure, so be sure you know every aspect of whats covered.
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Does Medicaid Cover Dental Care
Medicaid isn’t known for providing dental care coverage.
In fact, Medicaid is a lot like Medicare in that state agencies are only required to provide dental coverage to children. There are no minimum requirements for adult dental coverage.
States can choose whether or not they offer dental benefits to adults via their Medicaid programs. Unfortunately for those adults, many offer the bare minimum in this area.
What does that mean? Most Medicaid programs that cover dental care limit that coverage to emergency dental services. Some also cover preventative procedures, like cleanings and X-rays. Others expand their benefits a bit more to include the occasional filling or extraction.
That said, a handful of state Medicaid programs go the extra mile and cover enrollees’ crowns and root canals as well as their cleanings, fillings, and extractions.
Medicaid recipients often have a hard time getting a dentist to even examine them. Many U.S. dentists don’t accept Medicaid patients. Others accept them, but limit how many they’ll see.
Given that, the dental coverage some Medicaid programs provide adult enrollees isn’t always as great as it seems, even if that coverage usually is free.
If you have kids, though, Medicaid should help take care of their teeth no matter which state you call home. The same is true of the related Children’s Health Insurance Program .
Dental Work After Trauma
After a traumatic dental injury, you most likely need dental care to restore your mouth to its original, pre-injury condition. In these situations, most medical insurance providers cover all dental procedures and treatments that restore the appearance and function of your teeth. Services include:
- Any restorative treatment care
- Dental procedures that save natural teeth
Whether you suffer knocked out teeth as a result of a car accident, sports-related injury, or another traumatic event, we have the right treatment for you. For example, dental implants, crowns, bridges, and other dental work restore your smile to optimal health, both functionally and aesthetically.
Common dental injuries include:
- Knocked-out teeth
- Root fractures
Dr. Pottorff makes every effort to save your natural teeth by repairing or reattaching broken pieces, or by replacing a missing part of the tooth with a tooth-colored filling. He may also recommend a crown to put over the broken tooth, so it matches the surrounding uninjured teeth.
If you dislodge a tooth, Dr. Pottorff can often reposition it back to its correct location in the socket. However, repositioning sometimes requires a root canal as well. If the tooth is not saveable, Dr. Pottorff is an expert in placing dental implants.
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Exorbitant Dental Bill Medical Insurance May Cover Some Of It
Medical insurance generally pays more than dental insurance, so your dentist may be able to bill for services extending beyond tooth care.
DUBLIN, Calif. On a recent Friday morning, more than 30 dentists and dental staffers gathered in a conference room to learn an arcane new skill: how to bill medical insurers.
Pacing back and forth, the Florida dentist leading the two-day course advised the participants to stop thinking of themselves as tooth technicians and reposition themselves as physicians of the mouth.
There is a medical part of our practice and a dental part, said the presenter, Dr. Chris Farrugia, a dentist, as audience members tapped on their keyboards or scribbled notes. You have teeth, you got the other stuff. Its the other stuff that medical insurance pays for.
Dr. Farrugias seminar is a sign of a growing trend in dental offices, as providers seek greater reimbursement for expensive services and patients balk at big bills. Around the internet, firms have popped up claiming expertise in medical billing for dentists and offering courses and consulting services.
The reason is simple: Medical insurance is generally much more generous in its coverage than dental insurance.
Because of these differences in reimbursement, Dr. Farrugia told his seminar attendees, dentists should first consider what medical insurance might cover and then bill the dental plan for the rest.
I think theyll be excited, she said.
How To Bill Medical Insurance For Dental Procedures
Theres no doubt that oral health impacts overall physical health. But that doesnt guarantee the ease of how to bill medical insurance for dental procedures.
Its a more complicated process than whats implied with an off-the-cuff statement like, Just charge it to medical! Even so, there are more dental procedures than you might be aware of that can actually be covered with a patients medical insurance.
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When Would I Need Dental Cover
If your teeth are healthy and you only really visit the dentist for an annual check-up, you probably dont need to pay for dental insurance.
However, you might still want to perhaps because the option of emergency care gives you peace of mind.
But if your dental health isnt great and you need regular treatment, insurance could be a cost-effective way to pay for it.
Similarly, if you cant find an NHS dentist, or you simply want to use a private dentist, it makes good financial sense to get dental cover.
Be aware that while NHS treatment is capped and typically much cheaper than going private, you usually still have to pay for it.
You might also have to wait longer than you would for private treatment.
NHS costs vary across the UK:
- Find out if youre entitled to free dental care in England on the NHS website
- Find information about costs and free dental treatment in Wales on the NHS 111 Wales website
- See what you might have to pay for dental treatment in Scotland on the Scottish Government website
- Find information about costs of dental treatment in Northern Ireland on the Business Services Organisation website
Finding an NHS dentist: