Dentists Who Take Medicare – If you don’t already have a dentist who takes Medicare, you’ll need to know how to find the right one based on the kind of Medicare plan you have. The first step is to determine if you have dental coverage. Then, you need to know how your coverage works and which dentists are in your network.
Original Medicare and Dental Coverage
Original Medicare does not include dental coverage. If you are only enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B, you will have to pay for your dental care on your own. This is true even if you have a Medigap (Medicare supplement) plan, as those policies do not include dental benefits either.
There are several ways you can get dental insurance if you’re on Medicare (or even if you’re not). You can enroll in a stand-alone dental plan, or you can choose to enroll in a DVH (dental, vision, hearing) plan. Both are good options for Medicare beneficiaries who need dental insurance.
If you purchase one of those two types of plans, be sure to understand how the plan works and what provider network they use. We’ll talk more about provider networks in the next section.
Medicare Advantage and Dental Coverage
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, it’s likely that dental care is included in your plan. Since these policies are sold by private insurance companies, benefits will vary significantly. You’ll have to read your plan’s summary of benefits to find out what kind of dental coverage it offers.
You’ll also need to know which dentists accept your Medicare Advantage plan. For example, if you have an Aetna Medicare Advantage plan, you should find a dentist who contracts with Aetna to get the most out of your benefits. In addition, you’ll need to know if you have an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) or PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plan. Many dentists will contract with the PPO option but not the HMO counterpart. This is an important distinction because if you have an HMO plan, you won’t have out-of-network benefits.
You might also have a hybrid plan called an HMO-POS plan. POS stands for Point-of-Service. These plans allow for out-of-network benefits, but they typically won’t have the same coverage as they would if you went to an in-network provider. Even so, this can be helpful for those with limited dental options.
Finding a Dentist Who Takes Medicare
Once you’ve determined if you have dental coverage and what kind of plan you have, it’s not hard to find a dentist that accepts your plan. You can accomplish this in a few different ways.
- If you have a current dentist or one you know you’d like to see, simply call the office and ask if they are in-network with your plan. Be sure to use the word “in-network,” as many offices will still see patients with out-of-network insurance. It is helpful to have your insurance card handy when you call.
- Call your insurance company. There are phone numbers printed on the back of your insurance ID card. Call the customer service number and ask for a list of dentists who accept your plan.
- Visit your plan’s website. If you’re computer-savvy, you can find a list of providers who accept your plan on the insurance company’s website.
- Call the agent who sold you the policy. If they’re a local agent, they may already know of a few dentists who take Medicare or can look up your plan online.
If you find a dentist by calling your insurance or going to their website, we’d also recommend making a follow-up call to that dental office. Sometimes the provider directories are not updated in a timely manner and can have outdated information.
Oftentimes, dentists will give discounts to seniors since they know Medicare doesn’t cover dental treatment. When you’re searching for a dentist, ask about senior discounts or even any other discounts like cash pay or membership plans. Sometimes, this is even more cost-effective than purchasing a dental plan.
If you’re not sure about your dental coverage, you can chat with one of our licensed insurance agents. We’ll take a look at your current policies to find out if you have dental benefits and, if so, how to best use that coverage. If you don’t have dental insurance, we can show you a variety of plans that will give you the coverage you’re looking for.