Traditional Medicare insurance does not include any coverage for vision or dental care. Seniors have the option of adding an Advantage plan to their regular Medicare if they want this coverage. Also known as Part C, Advantage plans require paying a somewhat higher premium for Medicare, but that's well worth it for many people. They especially may want dental coverage since teeth and gum problems become more frequent in this age group.
About Advantage Plans
Advantage plans are provided by private insurance companies. The policyholder's premiums pay for part of the coverage, and the federal government funds the rest. Seniors are encouraged to shop for the best rates for the policy features they want. The plans vary considerably, including practical details such as deductible amounts and copay percentages. Customers must be careful about their choices.
These plans are considered affordable. Of course, that aspect depends on an individual's finances. One person finds paying an extra $25 per month easy to fit in the budget, while another cannot spend $15. Everyone must decide whether they need other optional coverage as well. For instance, many want Part D for prescription medication.
The Need for Dental Insurance
Without Medicare Part C, seniors who cannot afford to pay a dentist may delay having treatment for tooth decay. That leads to the risk of decay spreading to adjacent teeth.
Those in this age group are more vulnerable to cavities, partly because they are more likely to have medical conditions or take prescription drugs that cause dry mouth. Saliva has protective effects for the teeth, and reduced saliva production is a risk factor for tooth decay.
Older seniors are the most at risk for gum disease, especially those with disabilities making it hard to use their hands effectively. Flossing can be difficult, even with a holder. Using an electric toothbrush helps these individuals avoid the need to grip a handle tightly, but many people have the misconception that these devices are not as effective as manual brushing.
In addition, gum disease starts as a hidden problem without symptoms. It gradually worsens until the gum tissue becomes sore and puffy, with bleeding after brushing or flossing.
Without routine dental care, seniors are at even greater risk of these problems. Medicare Part C allows them to afford regular appointments for checkups and professional teeth cleaning. They can have their dental issues resolved before the situation becomes worse.
For more information about Medicare Advantage insurance plans, contact a local insurance provider.
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