Does Medicare Cover Dental?

Sherrie Johnson Sherrie became a professional writer in 2014. An expert in all things Medicare, you can find her work across a number of publications. When she’s not writing, you can find her fixing up her farm in Kentucky where she lives with her husband.
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Does Medicare Cover Dental?

No, Original Medicare does not cover dental benefits. However, you can add additional coverage through an optional Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan. If you’re currently shopping for Medicare plans, we’ll explain exactly how to get dental health care included in your health care coverage.

Medicare Plan Overview

First, let’s take a brief look at what Original Medicare covers.

PLAN COVERAGE PREMIUM
Part A
  • Inpatient hospital coverage
  • Might have premium
Part B
  • Outpatient care
  • Doctor visits
  • Lab tests
  • Home health services
  • Medical equipment
  • Will have premium +
  • Medicare pays 80%
  • You pay 20% of everything else
  • No cap or maximum
Part C
  • Inpatient hospital coverage
  • Outpatient care
  • Prescription drug coverage
  • Dental*
  • Vision*
  • Hearing*
  • Fitness*
  • Will have premium
Part D
  • Drug Coverage
  • % deductible varies

* Not all Medicare Part C Plans cover these items.

As you can see from the chart, Medicare Plans B and D do not cover dental. 

Plan A might cover some dental needs if it pertains to non-dental procedures already covered. Examples include tooth extraction prior to tumor removal surgery and an oral exam prior to a kidney transplant. 

Plan C, also known as a Medicare Advantage plan, might offer dental coverage. Be sure to review your Medicare Advantage plan to determine if it gives you the dental coverage you need. Medicare Advantage plans that cover dental care are typically split into two options: preventative or comprehensive dental coverage.

PREVENTATIVE DENTAL COVERAGE COMPREHENSIVE DENTAL COVERAGE
Teeth cleaning Teeth cleaning
Routine exams and treatments including x-rays and fluoride Routine exams and procedures including x-rays and fluoride
  Most dental procedures
  Oral surgery*
  Dentures
  Tooth Extractions
  Fillings
  Root Canals
  Periodontal cleaning

*If oral surgery is needed due to an accident that requires hospitalization, Part A might cover part of the cost. The same applies to oral surgery required to perform a covered non-dental service.

Be aware! Some Medicare Advantage plans come with a yearly cap for covered dental expenses. If you find yourself in need of more than one extraction, multiple fillings, or significant oral surgery, you could hit the cap sooner than expected and will be required to pay out-of-pocket  dental expenses.

How to get Medicare Dental Coverage

If your Original Medicare coverage doesn’t include dental health care, what should you do?  Thankfully, there are several options open to you. 

Medicare Advantage

Dental benefits range from preventative to comprehensive and are priced accordingly. Check your Medicare Advantage plan options thoroughly to determine whether your plan includes enough dental coverage. 

Medigap

Most Medicare Supplement insurance, or Medigap plans, do not offer dental. If you live in a state with industry-leading practices, you might find a policy that provides it. Check your Medigap plan thoroughly to determine whether any dental coverage is offered.

Private Insurance 

You can purchase dental insurance plans from a private insurance company. Individual dental health plans will come with a separate monthly premium, so if your budget is tight, Medicare Advantage might be your best option.

Spouse’s Dental Plan

If your spouse has dental insurance through an employer, you may qualify for coverage under their plan. Keep in mind that this will come with a monthly premium in addition to the premium your spouse pays.

PACE

PACE stands for Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. This coverage is for the elderly who need nursing home-level care, whether at home or in a facility. PACE is a Medicare program that provides necessary dental coverage in addition to other needs.

HSA

Before you turn 65, you are eligible to open a Health Savings Account. An HSA is a savings account you contribute a set amount of pre-tax income to. What’s in the account can only be used for medical costs. After you are 65 and enrolled in Medicare, you cannot contribute to the HSA. You are, however, able to use what is in your HSA for your dental care.

Making the Choice

Obtaining dental health care coverage is just as important as your regular health care. A decline in oral health can impact your entire body, so it’s imperative to find out if your current Medicare coverage includes dental. Whether you find a plan through Medicare Part C or use another method, you’ll be investing in your future. To determine your Medicare eligibility and rates, ask for a Medicare quote today.

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