Dental Insurance for Seniors Over 65
Originally published December 20, 2018
Updated March 5, 2019
If you’re a senior over 65 looking for dental insurance, it’s because you’ve discovered that Medicare doesn’t cover dental expenses. This gap in coverage is hard to understand, especially when most of us have had dental insurance throughout our lives.
What’s more is that Medicare also doesn’t cover vision or hearing expenses. That’s why several insurance companies have come up with plans that will offer dental, vision, and hearing coverage to Medicare enrollees.
Best Dental Insurance for Seniors
Neither Medicare nor a Medicare Advantage plan offers comprehensive dental coverage, which is why we would recommend a dental insurance plan.
These plans often come with dental, vision, and hearing coverage, which is why they are sometimes called DVH insurance plans.
We currently carry Dental, Vision, and Hearing Insurance from the following insurance carriers:
- National Care Dental
- Aetna Protection Series – Dental, Vision and Hearing Insurance
- United National Life – Dental & Vision Shield
- Renaissance Active Lifestyle Dental & Vision Plans
- Medico Dental Plus Insurance Series
- Mutual of Omaha Dental Insurance
National Care Dental
National Care Dental is arguably the best dental insurance plan available to seniors. It has no deductible or waiting period for preventative dental services and premiums start at just $49 per month.
Here are some of this dental plan's highlights:
- No waiting periods for preventive and basic dental care
- Only a $50 plan deductible per person ($150 max per family)
- No deductible for preventative services
- Choose a $1,500, $3,000, or $3,000 plus $2,000 buy up maximum benefit per year (the $3,000 plus $2,000 buy up is effectively a $5,000 maximum benefit)
- Works like a PPO – lower costs if you see in-network providers (over 300,000 access points for dental care needs)
- 100% coverage for preventive care like exams and cleanings
- 80% coverage for basic care like simple extractions
- 50% coverage and 12-month waiting period on major care, like oral surgery, crowns, and dentures
There is also a vision plan available starting at just $21 per month that helps cover frames, lenses, contacts, exams, and more.
National Care Dental is underwritten by Nationwide Insurance, a name many know and trust. Nationwide is a Fortune 100 company with a healthy and diverse portfolio of insurance and financial services. They have been committed to the health benefits industry for more than 70 years.
Aetna Dental, Vision and Hearing Insurance
Aetna is a very well-known and loved insurance company with a lot of great products tailored for the senior on Medicare.
Aetna’s Dental, Vision and Hearing Insurance has a lot of great features, including:
- No health questions – you’re guaranteed to be accepted!
- Guaranteed renewable as long you pay your premiums on time – you’ll never be dropped from the plan
- Available up to age 89
- Only a $100 plan deductible per person
- Choose a $1,000 or $1,500 maximum benefit per year
- Benefits are paid in addition to any other health care coverage you may have
That means that if you do have a Medicare Advantage plan that offers some dental coverage, this plan will pay on top of that.
The plan covers the majority of your dental care immediately, including cleanings, x-rays, fillings, extractions, and more. Your vision care is covered after 6 months, which includes eye exams, eyeglasses, and contact lenses. Finally, hearing care is covered at 12 months, which includes hearing exams and hearing aids.
This plan is a very popular one with our senior clients.
United National Life (UNL) Dental & Vision Shield
UNL offers a unique plan that pays 80% of actual charges for covered expenses. This plan also offers a higher benefit option, since you can choose a $1,000, $1,500, or $2,000 benefit for the year.
The Dental & Vision Shield plan has a $100 deductible for the year, and there are no networks. That means you can go to any dentist or eye doctor you want. The benefits are also paid directly to you.
This plan also comes with a unique $350 wellness benefit, which, if you use it, can offset some or all of your premium for the year. This $350 wellness benefit is completely separate from your plan's maximum benefit. The wellness benefit includes:
- X-rays and two dental cleanings per year (up to $75 each)
- One basic eye exam or refraction (up to $50)
- $150 in prescription eyewear or contacts and most basic dental care
With UNL’s plan, there are waiting periods, which include:
- 3 month waiting period for X-rays, 2 dental cleanings per year, and one basic eye exam or refraction per year
- 6 month waiting period for $150 in prescription eyewear or contacts and most basic dental care
- 12 month waiting period for almost all non-cosmetic dental care, including bridges, crowns, dentures, root canals, out-patient dental surgery, full mouth extractions, and more
This plan is a few dollars more per month than Aetna’s plan, but if you plan to utilize the wellness benefit, it could offset your premium for the year.
Renaissance Active Lifestyle Dental & Vision Plans
Renaissance gives you options with their Dental Insurance – you can choose a stand-alone dental policy, or you can choose dental and vision insurance combined.
Here are a few highlights for the Renaissance Active Lifestyle plans:
- No networks, but if you see a doctor in the nationwide network, you can save money
- No waiting periods on diagnostic and preventive services
- Add vision coverage if you need it
With Renaissance, you only have one benefit choice, which is $1,000 for the year. However, your yearly deductible is only $50 per person.
Medico Dental Plus Insurance Series
Medico is a trusted insurance company that’s been serving Americans since 1930. Their base dental plan only covers dental – not vision or hearing.
However, they offer 3 benefit options, including $1,000, $1,500, and $2,500 yearly maximum benefits. If you choose the $1,500 or $2,500 benefit, you do get access to 50% vision and hearing coverage after 12 months.
For each tier, the policy year deductible stays the same at $100.
Some highlights of Medico’s Dental Insurance include:
- No health questions – everyone qualifies for this plan
- 30-day free look period, which means you can cancel at any time within the first 30 days
- 100% coverage for diagnostic and preventive dental care after 3 months (for the $1,000 benefit plan)
Medico offers very competitive rates, which makes this a popular plan among our clients.
Mutual of Omaha Dental Insurance
Mutual of Omaha boasts a dental insurance plan with no surprises. With this dental insurance plan, you know what your out-of-pocket costs will be from the beginning. There are two plan options:
- Mutual Dental Preferred℠ Insurance Policy
- Mutual Dental Protection℠ Insurance Policy
The Preferred plan offers slightly more coverage, with a calendar year benefit of $1,500, while the protection plan offers a calendar year benefit of $1,000.
For both plans, preventive services – two cleanings per year and X-rays – are 100% covered, meaning you would pay nothing for them.
Basic services like fillings, extractions, and emergency treatment are covered at 80% for the preferred plan and 50% for the protection plan. Both plans offer 50% coverage for major services like crowns, dentures, bridges, root canals, and periodontics.
With Mutual of Omaha, you also have the option to add a vision benefit to your dental policy. The vision benefit reimburses you for one eye exam per year (up to $50), and up to $150 every two years for glasses or contacts.
The Mutual of Omaha Dental Insurance plans come with:
- Pretreatment estimates for services $200 or more when you call 800-775-1000 and select the dental claims option
- No waiting period for preventive and basic services
- 30-day free look period where you can return your policy for a refund if you're not satisfied
- The policy is guaranteed renewable for life as long as you pay your premiums on time
- Your premium won't increase due to any change in your health
What dental care is covered by Medicare?
Medicare doesn’t offer much coverage by way of dental care. All of the most common dental services, like cleanings, fillings, and dentures are not covered by Medicare at all.
There is a small bit of coverage, but it’s not practical and it’s very unlikely it would ever come in handy. Medicare Part A, or your hospital coverage, will pay for certain dental services you get while in the hospital. Part A will also pay for inpatient hospital care if you need emergency or complicated dental procedures, but the dental care itself isn’t actually covered.
Does Medicare pay for tooth extractions?
Unfortunately, Medicare does not pay for tooth extractions. You would be responsible for 100% of the cost – even if you have a Medicare Supplement.
Medicare Supplements are only supplementing Medicare, which means if Medicare doesn’t cover tooth extractions, the supplement can’t either.
Are dental implants covered by Medicare?
Many seniors inquire about dental implants, which are not covered by Medicare. According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, over 3 million people in the US have dental implants, and that number is growing by 500,000 each year.
It’s quite common for individuals 65+ to need implants, and they can be quite costly. But unfortunately, neither Medicare nor a Medicare Supplement will cover them.
And as you will soon see, a Medicare Advantage plan isn't necessarily going to cover it, either – even if it comes with dental benefits.
Do any Medicare Advantage plans cover dental?
Many Medicare Advantage plans do offer some kind of dental coverage, but it depends on the plan, and oftentimes, that coverage isn’t really that comprehensive.
For example, a popular WellCare Medicare Advantage plan in Florida offers the following coverage for dental services:
- $0 copay for cleanings – 1 every 6 months
- $0 copay for oral exams – 1 every 6 months
- $0 copay for fluoride treatments – 1 per year
- $0 copay for dental x-rays – 1 time only
- $500 maximum benefit for the year
In sum, this very popular plan will cover a basic dental visit once or twice a year depending on how expensive your dentist is. You can only use up to $500 in dental benefits for the year, so if you need anything other than a basic cleaning, you don’t have much coverage.
Some plans, like a popular Aetna Medicare Advantage plan in Georgia, offer no dental coverage at all.
How Much Does Dental, Vision, and Hearing Insurance Cost?
Dental, Vision, and Hearing Insurance for seniors ages 65+ is very inexpensive. For a 70-year-old, you’re looking at as low as $35 per month.
We would love to go over these dental insurance options, especially if you’re age 65 and up.
Our team of dedicated, licensed agents can help you as little or as much as you need. Whether it’s answering a few questions about Medicare or creating a comprehensive Medicare Planner with you, we are your Medicare Allies.