Health and wellness for seniors go beyond routine medical checkups. You need to maintain good oral health as well. Sadly, oral problems contribute to some of the most common illnesses seniors face. Surveys show that one in five adults suffer from tooth decay. Plus, since standard health insurance policies do not cover oral treatments, older adults on a fixed income leave the problems untreated.
If you want to maintain good oral health without overspending, look into dental plans that are suitable for seniors. The country has dozens of reputable insurers featuring affordable dental insurance plans. Policies vary on a case-by-case basis, but you expand the insurance coverage with riders and endorsements. These add-ons benefit patients who require both aesthetic and functional treatments.
Most seniors neglect dental care because they do not see the gravity of oral diseases. Note that even simple issues like tooth decay or gum infections can lead to life-threatening complications like oral cancer—which is prevalent among those over 62.
Older adults who want quality, affordable dental care services can sign up for dental insurance plans. These policies cover dental and oral services that standard insurance plans don't. Depending on the policy coverage you choose, your insurance provider can fully cover a myriad of treatments, from tooth extractions to dental implants.
Some of the best dental insurance providers in the U.S. with regards to financial stability, extensive coverage, and reliability include:
Humana ranks among the top options when it comes to dental insurance for seniors. They are a long-running insurance company backed by decades of experience, an extensive provider network, and millions of clients from residential and commercial sectors. If you want a reliable, trustworthy brand, you can't go wrong with Humana.
To fully utilize their dental insurance for seniors, we highly recommend adding vision coverage to your policy. Humana has competitive rates on its comprehensive packages. Getting all the coverage you need right from the get-go might help you save on premiums in the long run. Doing so reduces the waiting period as well.
Plus, we advise getting Humana a few years before retirement. While not as extensive as what Spirit Dental and Vision offers, Humana has excellent loyalty programs that yield several benefits to long-held accounts. You will benefit from these once you retire and have to depend on a fixed income.
Do not forget to drop by their coupons and discounts page as well. They have varying offers, but one of the longest-standing promos on their site includes the discounts for war veterans.
While Humana caters to clients all across the U.S., note that some states might not have access to specific plans. Also, they charge higher premiums on dental insurance for seniors who smoke.
Bonus: Download the MyHumana App. It's a streamlined, user-friendly platform where policy owners file and track claims, locate a partner dentist, compare medication prices, and review policy coverage.
Several factors affect why we chose Renaissance Dental as the best dental insurance for frequent checkups. First, they have a short waiting period. New accounts can file claims and discounts on teeth cleaning, dental crowns, and tooth fillings right away. Meanwhile, other insurers might require a six-month waiting period for standard cleaning services.
Second, they have an above-average annual maximum. The cheapest plans have a base limit of $750, but high-tier plans can cap at around $3,000. Although, most patients only require around $1,000 to $2,000 worth of coverage per year.
Third, their policies yield continuing benefits. During your first year, you will get a 20% discount on most major dental services like root canals. However, you can bump the coverage up to a maximum of 50% once you reach your third year—meaning you get half off on all major dental work.
Fourth, clients can choose from several plans. Renaissance Dental allows clients to customize their dental insurance policies to match their oral care needs and lifestyle. You can even add vision coverage.
One crucial detail to remember, however, is that Renaissance Dental does not cover orthodontic services for seniors, so you will have to get a supporting policy or rider.
Not many dental insurance companies can match up to what Cigna offers when it comes to preventive care coverage. Patients can feel at ease knowing that standard services such as checkups, teeth cleaning, or even x-ray scans have no added copay or deductible. You will only need to pay for the monthly premiums.
Apart from cost-efficiency, Cigna strives to make the process as convenient as possible for policy owners. After all, filing claims on routine checkups can be tedious if done too often. In the worst-case scenario, an incompetent insurer might even drag out your claim application. Fortunately, you'll never face similar issues at Cigna since your dentist will file the claims paperwork for you.
As a bonus, Cigna has a 24/7 customer service team working around the clock to take on queries, concerns, and consultations. We all know how difficult it is to find time for these types of calls.
One disadvantage that some patients might dislike is the maximum annual limit of $1,500. This amount does not even cover major dental services. Although, if you plan on using Cigna dental insurance primarily for preventive care, the annual maximum should cover all your dental service needs for the year.
Bonus: Patients struggling to find a reliable dentist to trust for regular preventive care can try Cigna's Brighter Score Tool. This program ranks nearby dentists based on reviews and ratings.
The main reason we chose Alfac is they allow policy owners to visit any dental service provider they want. You do not have to limit yourself to one or two clinics in your city. So if you feel like your current insurance policy forces you to get treatments from a dentist you do not necessarily like or have no faith in, upgrade to Aflac.
Aflac does not disclose too much information about its plans. Their approach is to create customized insurance policies based on the client's needs, lifestyle, medical records, and budget. This prevents clients from mimicking their peer's policies.
To give you an idea, however, most policy owners state that their plans have an average annual limit of $1,600. Plus, while preventive care treatments and checkups do not have a waiting period, pain relief, tooth extractions, root canals, and dentures come with waiting periods of 3, 6, 12, and 24 months respectively.
But keep in mind that Aflac has specific rules regarding pre-existing conditions. For example, applicants with missing teeth cannot get coverage for these oral complications.
If your current dental insurance policy requires you to travel to another town or city for standard checkups, consider upgrading to UnitedHealthcare (UHC). They are a long-running dental insurance company that boasts a broad provider network of 1.3 million physicians from 6,500 different hospitals and facilities. No matter where you live, you're bound to find a nearby dentist.
Apart from the extensive network, they also offer generous savings. They have cost-efficient standard plans, but their best deals lie in premium and comprehensive packages. We strongly recommend exploring the four different plans they offer to see which one best suits your oral care needs and budget.
Plus, UHC does not set age limits, so seniors well past the retirement age can still apply for a new dental insurance policy. The only trade-off is you will have to undergo a lengthy waiting period. Basic care services have waiting periods ranging around six months, while advanced procedures could take you up to one year.
Note: UHC allows patients to file claims on preventive care right away, but they do not insure those with pre-existing conditions.
Aetna offers cost-efficient dental insurance policies with extensive coverage. In fact, you can rely on your Aetna dental insurance policy to cover at least 80% to 100% of your oral care procedure. After a short waiting period, you can file claims on dentures as well.
Apart from providing extensive coverage, Aetna also has competitive rates. They have straightforward, predictable rates ranging from $25 to $30 per month. For an extra $10 to $15, you further upgrade your coverage.
Plus, they have a simple, user-friendly website. You can file, track, and monitor claims through their database. Meanwhile, other insurance companies would require you to travel all the way to their office for simple follow-ups.
The only downside to Aetna is the limited service area. However, considering the competitive rates, broad provider network, and extensive coverage, their plans definitely deserve a spot in any list of best dental insurance policies. If Aetna provides insurance in your state, definitely check them out.
With more than 78 million clients, Delta Dental stands as one of the largest insurance providers in the U.S. Clients continue to trust them for their affordable, flexible plans. In fact, seniors enjoy an average 30% to 40% discount on all dental and orthodontic services.
Plus, not many insurers cover major dental services—especially when it comes to dental insurance for seniors. But you can use your Delta Dental insurance to pay for dentures, crowns, or even root canals.
To fully utilize Delta Dental plans, we suggest HMO policies for straightforward rates and fees, while those who want to focus on extensive discounts can try PPO terms.
Delta Dental plan options also dictate your maximum out-of-pocket costs per procedure. For example, if your plan states a $400 out-of-pocket limit for root canals, then you will never pay more than $400 for this treatment.
Perhaps the only downside to Delta Dental insurance plans is that the premiums increase for those upward of 50. Although, you can still maximize their coverage and term flexibility for better savings.
Spirit Dental Vision admittedly does not offer the lowest premiums on the market. However, their comprehensive coverage, extensive loyalty programs, and the broad selection of riders more than compensate for their above-average rates.
Since long-held accounts yield the most advantages, we encourage older adults to sign up for Spirit Dental at least a few years before retiring. New policies start with a 65% discount on basic procedures. However, your savings jump to a whopping 90% once you reach your third year.
Fortunately, Spirit Dental has an easy application process, so clients don't have to fret if they miss their chance to sign up early. The company also has limited waiting periods. In fact, patients can quickly get coverage for urgent treatments like dental bridges or crowns, which says a lot about how quickly you can get claims for standard oral care services.
Apart from their advantageous loyalty programs, another reason to consider Spirit Dental and Vision is that they have dental insurance policies geared toward seniors. Those over 65 get three teeth cleaning sessions and two preventive care checkups for free every year. On top of that, policy owners can customize their plans with several insurance add-ons for life, vision, and disability benefits.
Guardian Life has the lowest, most affordable dental insurance premiums on the market. Yes, they have comprehensive packages at $60 per month, but most of their dental insurance policies have a monthly premium of around $16. Plus, their website has a reliable cost calculator that gives accurate, customized estimates.
Another advantage with Guardian Life is they fully cover preventive care costs. Whether you turn to a partner or out-of-network dentist, you can use your dental insurance policy to cover the majority—if not all—of the fees. This benefit applies to routine checkups and teeth cleaning.
Also, the company allows all patients with either the Advantage Gold PPO, Silver PPO or, Bronze PPO to switch dentists mid-contract. You do not have to force yourself to visit dentists you dislike. Policyholders can enjoy Guardian Life's extensive network of more than 100,000 reputable dentists and clinics in their service areas.
Unfortunately, Guardian Life only provides insurance plans in 20 U.S. states. On the plus side, the company allows cancellation at any time—making it easier for policy owners who need to move to an out-of-coverage state or city.
If you find dental insurance for seniors expensive, try Careington. They offer affordable discount plans made specifically to compete with insurance companies. Careington was founded in 1980 by two Texan dentists who wanted to create the best dental insurance alternatives. Today, they have grown to a massive brand that provides dental discount options to more than 15 million members.
While most dental insurance policies cost $400 to $600 annually, dental discount plan options Careington start at just $99. Plus, the application process requires less work. In most cases, you can use your discount plan upon approval. You do not have to undergo a lengthy waiting period filled with several dentist examinations and tedious paperwork.
When calculating the potential savings, keep in mind that the rates depend on your total procedure costs. We recommend consulting with a certified agent for accurate details. But to give you an idea, you can cut the costs of a root canal by around 60%.
Perhaps the only downside to discount plan options is they have less coverage. Although, Careington makes up for this by boosting their plans with extra benefits for hearing, visual, and specialty prescription needs—which most dental insurance companies do not have.
Pro Tip: You can utilize these plans if you know what discounts to purchase.
MetLife is a widely known dental insurance company. Case in point, thousands of small- to medium-sized businesses from varying industries trust them for company-wide dental insurance plans. Their standard dental coverage includes several cosmetic and functional procedures like veneer and denture manufacturing.
They rank as the best dental insurance company for seniors nearing retirement because they have transferrable HMO and PPO plans. Retirees can carry over their benefits and shift to an individual plan.
This feature allows enrollees to maximize the full benefits of their long-held accounts, large annual maximum, and extensive coverage, which most new senior dental policies do not offer. Plus, transitioning from a company to an individual plan often has no waiting period.
Policy owners will never have to worry about accessibility. MetLife works with more than 100,000 different dental care providers, so you're sure to find a clinic in your area.
Unfortunately, since MetLife dental plans are only available through employers, individuals cannot request cost estimates—especially new policy owners. You would have to ask your HR to consider their HMO and PPO plans. However, you can still review the set fees they charge for various dental procedures and materials.
Senior Strong emphasizes that older adults are at risk of fatal accidents, injuries, and attacks. Luckily, you can use medical alert systems to request emergency assistance any time and any day. Check out our top recommendations.
Dental plans are available with multiple benefits and options through the Federal Employees Dental Insurance Program. You can enroll in, change, or cancel your dental plan during Federal Benefits Open Season.
Medicare only covers minimal dental care, such as cleanings and fillings. For more extensive procedures like tooth extractions or dentures, you will have to pay out of pocket.
That said, Medicare does cover some procedures when you're in hospital care. For example, they'll pay for certain treatments like cleanings if you get them while hospitalized under general anesthesia with an overnight stay in the same facility as your dentist's office.
There are many benefits to paying in advance for a dental procedure. Dentists will often offer discounts to patients who pay ahead of time or senior citizens.
The cost of dentures depends on the type you want and your dentist, but they can range from $600 to over $15,000. Basic sets go for $600 to $1,5000, midrange quality dentures might cost between $1,500 to $3,000, and the prices of premium dentures can go even higher.
The Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) offers standard group dental and vision plans to Retired Military, Active Duty National Guardsmen and Reservists, their families—including anyone else formerly eligible for the Tricare Retirees Dental Plan.
The average American spends between $15 and $50 a month to stay protected from tooth decay, cavities, periodontal disease, and other oral health problems. Depending on your state of residence or the type of coverage you're looking for in your dental insurance plan will determine how much it costs monthly.
Dental insurance waiting periods help keep dental insurance costs under control. They prevent patients from receiving costly procedures and then dropping the coverage shortly after, which can result in higher premiums for everyone.
Contrary to popular belief, dental implants do not discriminate against the elderly. In fact, many patients in their 90s have had success with this treatment as well. One important thing that may affect some senior patients is whether or not there is a sufficient amount of jawbone density for successful implantation.
No two seniors share the same dental coverage needs, so do not base your decision solely on what dental insurance plans your peers have. Instead, find dental plans that match your oral care needs, budget, and lifestyle. Also, we strongly encourage looking past discount plans. Several other factors apart from premiums play equally crucial roles when sorting through insurance companies.
Overall, it's imperative that you thoroughly review the policies of your prospective dental insurance provider. Ideally, you need a reliable insurance company partnered with multiple dentists in your area and offers extensive coverage. Avoid plans that limit you to specific clinics or procedures.
Senior Strong shares that a healthy set of teeth is simply one of the many things older adults need to maintain their quality of life. Check out our resources page for more guides on how seniors can age safely.