By Susan Braden
You might be retired now, but that doesn’t mean you’re planning to relax when it comes to your dental health. That’s because you understand that seniors are not immune from tooth decay and gum disease. In fact, older people are often more prone to dental problems. Poorly fitting dentures, the use of medications that impair your saliva production and lessen your mouth’s ability to cleanse itself, and the aging process which leads to receding gums are just a few of the reasons for seniors to remain vigilant about their oral health.
As happened with so many Americans, the recent economic downturn may have taken a huge chunk of your savings. With costs skyrocketing and incomes remaining fixed for many older people, affording the routine and emergency dental care you need is becoming increasingly burdensome. At one time, traditional indemnity insurance often cost patrons hundreds of dollars each month in premiums. In recent years, however, new options for dental insurance for seniors have become available.
If you have a Medicare card, you might believe that this government-sponsored program will be a great help in covering the costs of routine dental care and more complex procedures. In fact, the opposite is true.
By law, Medicare is prohibited from paying for cleanings, fillings, crowns, dentures, and most other dental work. Although there are a few exceptions, you will never be able to look to Medicare as a source of dental insurance for seniors.
Millions of people over 50 have joined the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). If you are a member in good standing, you are eligible to sign up for the AARP dental insurance plan administered by Delta Dental. With this plan, you have a choice between two tiers of coverage.
Another option in dental coverage is dental plans. They are an excellent alternative to the AARP program for a number of reasons.