Does Original Medicare (Parts A & B) Cover Dental?
Under Original Medicare, most of the routine dental care procedures are not covered1. This means you'll be responsible for paying 100 percent of the cost when you need a non-emergency procedure. Below are some of the dental services not included under Original Medicare:
- Dental Devices
- Root Canals
- Tooth Extractions
Fortunately, some dental services are covered under Original Medicare. Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) provides some coverage if your dental needs require a hospital visit. For example, if you sustained significant mouth injuries and required emergency care at a hospital, then Medicare Part A might provide limited coverage.
What Are the Dental Benefits of Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C)?
With Original Medicare not offering coverage for routine dental exams, it can be tempting to skip your regular checkups. However, that choice can be a bad idea as these appointments can catch conditions that may become more painful and expensive over time if left untreated.
Without dental insurance, the cost of standard teeth cleaning by a dental hygienist can cost between $75-$200, depending on the dentist's office and local rates. Since many teeth cleaning appointments also include X-rays and an exam from a dentist, the cost can jump up to $100 and surpass $300.2
To avoid paying 100 percent of dental service costs, some seniors age 65 and older elect to purchase a Medicare Advantage plan that includes dental coverage. Medicare Advantage, commonly known as Medicare Part C, replaces Medicare Parts A and B by consolidating both parts into one policy. Medicare Part C plans are Medicare-approved private health insurance plans that provide at least the same amount of coverage as Original Medicare with a max out of pocket protection. In addition to dental coverage, many Medicare Part C plans include coverage for vision, hearing orthopedic care, and wellness programs. It's important to note that not all Part C plans include dental.
Under a Medicare Part C plan with dental coverage, your policy may be able to cover services such as:
What About Stand-Alone Dental Insurance Plans?
If you choose not to get a Medicare Advantage plan that includes dental coverage, but still want dental insurance, there are stand-alone dental plans available. These plans can vary in regard to the cost of copays, deductibles and coinsurance, but they usually provide benefits such as preventative dental care, cleanings and other services.