Dental Insurance For Seniors

Insurance of any kind is hard to come by for seniors, at least not for a reasonable price. Dental insurance is no exception. Because they tend to need more specialized care and are more prone to problems, seniors have to pay a premium for dental coverage, often being charged more than twice their younger counterparts. That being said, there’s still some affordable dental insurance for seniors out there—it just takes a bit of shopping around.

Many seniors are drawn to dental discount plans. These aren’t insurance per se; they work by offering discounted rates for dental procedures. As with group insurance, the more members there are, the greater the discounts can be, since there are more paying members to cover the difference. The main advantages are the short waiting periods (since there are no examinations needed), wider coverage (pre-existing conditions are usually covered), and the looser limits on age and exclusions.

Of course, for procedures that cost more than average, discount plans may not be ideal. For traditional dental coverage, seniors often turn to organizations such as the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons, although they serve all seniors now, retired or not), which specializes in health coverage. The AARP currently has about seven million members, although not all are covered by dental insurance.

AARP dental coverage is provided by Delta Dental, a preferred provider association (PPO). This means that the insurer allows members to choose their dentists and switch dentists as they please, even out-of-network ones. All you have to do is pay your share of the fee and leave—no need to file claims or fill out reimbursement forms.

Delta Plan A offers 100% coverage for diagnostic and preventative procedures, and 80% coverage for maintenance and repairs. Restorative procedures, such as fillings and root canals, receive 50% coverage. Full coverage is also offered for dental accidents, with a maximum lifetime claim of $1,000. The coverage increases after twelve years of membership. Delta Plan B covers only 80% of the cost for diagnostic and preventative procedures, and 50% for all other procedures. Dental accident insurance is not included.

AARP dental coverage is offered to all its members, with the option to enroll spouses, partners, and dependent children (those who are under 26 or are disabled). Coverage is given for a minimum of 12 months and can be renewed every year, provided all the premiums are paid. If you’d like to give it a try, the group gives you a 30-day period within which you can withdraw and get a full refund.

Dental Insurance In Florida

Dental insurance in Florida is a big industry, but luckily, coverage isn’t as hard to come by as in some other states. Most employed residents are covered at least partially by their employers. Others have private insurance that they pay for out of pocket. The reason it’s especially important to get insurance in Florida is that dental care can be prohibitively expensive—a family can easily spend a few thousand dollars a year in regular check and maintenance procedures, plus the occasional extraction or surgery.

In Florida, the insurance industry is overseen by the state’s Department of Financial Services. This is the first place you’ll need to look if you’re looking for dental insurance. All insurance providers must be recognized by the department, so checking with them is your way of making sure you’re dealing with legitimate providers. The site also keeps a log of companies with complaints filed against them, so you can avoid the obviously bad ones.

This level of regulation helps keep insurance rates in Florida fairly competitive. That being said, not every quote you come across will be a good deal; you still have to do your own comparison shopping to make sure you’re getting the best out of your money. Experts recommend looking up references for providers, or even asking around from people you personally know.

It may also help to do the math and figure out how much you’re actually saving. If you don’t feel you need to visit the dentist that often, you may actually be better off just paying for the occasional visit. For example, the average cost of a periodic exam is about $50, while a cleaning costs around $80. Extractions will set you back around $500; this can be more or less depending on the complexity of your case. Spread the costs out over a year and compare it to the yearly cost of insurance, taking into account the risk of accidents (if they’re covered) and other conditions that may come up.

As with any other form of insurance costs depend on the scope of the plan (i.e. procedures covered), the amount of deductibles, and the flexibility allowed in choosing practitioners. Make the rates work in your favour by reading through each offer carefully. Look beyond the price and make sure you’re getting reasonable coverage—there’s no point paying pennies a day if you still have to shell out hundreds for your part of the bill, or wait a year to be reimbursed.