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3 Important Things To Know About Medicare Dental Coverage

Coverage options or dental discounts

First, check with your spouse’s company or employer if any of you are still working. Half of people aged 65 and over who had dental coverage were employees, spouses of employees or retirees, according to the National Survey on Healthy Aging. In some cases, employers may offer retirees access to a dental benefit plan or provide a referral to a company that offers benefits, says Richards of Delta Dental.

Second, you may be able to get dental coverage or a dental discount program through a Medigap policy. In 2020, approximately 1 in 8 Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Medigap plans with additional dental, visual, or auditory benefits, according to the Commonwealth Fund, a centennial foundation that focuses on better health care. Some dental programs offer 30% to 40% discounts for services such as cleaning, crowns, exams, and fillings with eligible dentists and have no copayments, coverage limits, or waiting periods.

You can sign up for a standalone dental discount program, usually with an initial annual fee. Ask your dentist if they are involved in other plans, such as in-house dental programs or discounts on down payments. Medicaid offers dental coverage in some states for people who meet income and asset requirements. About 1 in 9 Medicare recipients had dental coverage through Medicaid in 2019, according to the Kaiser study. Less than half of the states provide care beyond adult dental emergency services. Contact your state Medicaid office for more information.

Your dentist can be an ally in controlling expenses

Before you retire, talk to your dentist about how important care is in the years to come, says Leonard Brennan, a retired dentist and co-director of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine’s Geriatric Scholarship Program. If you need some expensive services, consider scheduling them while you still have dental coverage from your employer that may be better than your future coverage.

Don’t skip preventive dental visits, such as brushing your teeth, because you’re worried about the cost. Short-term savings could lead to bigger health problems, Brennan says.

Your dentist may be able to stretch your coverage dollars. If you approach the annual coverage limit of your policy, the dentist may be able to distribute some of the services you need during the next calendar year. To get an idea of ​​how much the various procedures in your area cost, Delta Dental has a cost estimator.

Tax-free HSA money can help with out-of-pocket dental costs

Even if you have dental coverage, you may incur a lot of costs. If you already have a health savings account (HSA) because you were receiving your health insurance through a high deductible plan, you can withdraw tax-free money for eligible medical expenses, including dental expenses.

You cannot make new contributions to an HSA after enrolling in Medicare. But you can withdraw money for eligible expenses at any age.

If you haven’t signed up for Medicare yet, saving tax-free medical and dental expenses is a good reason to start an HSA. To be eligible for HSA contributions in 2022, you must have an eligible HSA health insurance policy with a deductible of at least $ 1,400 for a single coverage or $ 2,800 for a family coverage. You can contribute up to $ 3,650 for one-time coverage or $ 7,300 for family coverage in 2022, plus $ 1,000 in recovery contributions if you’re 55 or older.

The HSA offers a triple tax deduction: your contributions are deducted from your salary before taxes are calculated or are tax deductible if they are not made through your employer. Money grows deferred taxes. And you can withdraw it tax-free for eligible expenses in any year.

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