Best Dental Insurance for Seniors
Seniors have special dental needs that come with getting older such as root decay, gum disease, tooth loss and more. Even non-dental conditions common to seniors, such as arthritis, can affect dental health. For those coming off of an employee group health plan upon after retiring, coverage may not be extended after you leave your job, leaving you to find your own dental coverage. Most plans have a waiting period for coverage, so this can leave you without coverage for a period of time.
Most Medicare or Medicare Advantage Plans provide no dental coverage or only provide minimal dental coverage. Those that do provide coverage, usually only cover preventive services so many seniors find the need to buy a dental insurance policy. Some top considerations for seniors purchasing a dental insurance plan include in-network providers, types of services covered, deductibles and co-pays. We've done some comparisons and come up with some of the best dental insurance options for seniors.
Humana has a loyalty rewards dental program which increases coverage over time, making it an attractive choice for seniors seeking dental coverage. Plans, coverage options, and premium vary by state. Another great option for seniors is the ability to purchase vision insurance in combination with the Humana dental plan. If you purchase both individual dental and
vision plans together, Humana waives the second enrollment fee. Humana also offers a dental plan specifically for veterans. Here is the amount you pay for basic services (varies by state): exam $0; root canal 20 percent; fillings 40 percent; simple extraction 50 percent; cleaning $0; X-rays 30 percent. Humana has over 130,000 dentists in its preferred provider network. The deductible for both individuals and families is $150. Advantages of Humana include the increasing annual coverage, free cleanings twice yearly and no waiting period.
Delta Dental administers the AARP Dental Insurance Plan. Coverage options, deductibles and copays vary by state. Delta Dental’s PPO plans designed for AARP members offer two different tiers of coverage: PPO Plan A and PPO Plan B.
PPO Plan A is the most comprehensive plan with the highest number of services covered and still has a modest premium. PPO Plan A covers three cleanings and exams per year at no additional cost when visiting an in-network provider. There are no exclusions for most pre-existing conditions and dental implants are available after 1 year of continuous coverage. The annual deductible is $50 with an annual maximum of $1,500. You are allowed to visit any licensed dentist but will save money through using a preferred in-network provider.
PPO Plan B has slightly lower premiums and still covers many basic services. The annual deductible is $100 with an annual maximum of $1,000. Keep in mind you are trading in the lower deductible for a higher one but you are also receiving a lower monthly premium. You have 80 percent coverage for three dental cleanings and exams per year and coverage is available for major services including implants, crowns, bridges and dentures after one year of continuous coverage. You can visit any licensed dentist but save more by choosing a preferred in-network provider.
UnitedHealthcare has a large number of in-network preferred providers, over 200,000, so you won’t have any trouble finding a dentist in the plan. Cleanings and X-rays are covered 100 percent. Here are the charges you pay for basic services: exam - $25; root canal - 50 percent; fillings - 30 percent; extractions - 30 percent. The coverage has no age maximum limitations. Deductible limits are $50 - individual, $150 - family of three with a 6-12 month waiting period for certain services. Cleanings and X-rays are covered with zero co-pay or deductible twice yearly. While UnitedHealthcare does have longer wait times for coverage to being and higher copays for certain services, it has a very large preferred provider network and provides free X-rays and cleanings twice yearly, making a good choice for seniors looking for basic dental coverage.
Guardian has dental plans for seniors that cover 100 percent of preventive services including cleanings, exams and X-rays. The only downside is it is not available in every state. For those states that are covered, seniors can obtain dental insurance that covers 100 percent of preventive services and up to 90 percent of other basic procedures such as simple extractions and fillings. Individual plans directly provided by Guardian are available to individuals living in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and Utah with access through the healthcare exchange for residents of Florida, Texas, Illinois and New York. Coverage varies by state but this is what you will pay for basic services: exams - $0; root canal (prices vary); fillings - 10 percent; simple extraction - 10 percent; cleaning - $0; X-rays - $0. Guardian has over 100,000 preferred providers included in its dental network.
For those seniors who enjoy good dental health and are looking mainly for preventive care and basic services, Ameritas Dental may be a good option to consider. For those looking to save money, if you only need one preventive/maintenance checkup per year, you can buy a dental plan through Ameritas that will cost less than plans with more services. The company also offers a dental rewards program where you can roll over unused coverage from one policy term to the next if you did not use dental services during the year. There are more than 84,000 preferred providers in the Ameritas dental network, so no matter where you live, it should be easy to find a dental office that takes Ameritas dental insurance. The plan pays 80 percent of major services including exams, filings, extractions, cleanings and X-rays.