You did your research. You read all the paperwork. You even called a licensed agent and talked shop. Then you signed up for Medicare Parts A and B and even went in on Part D. But you missed that Medicare doesn’t cover most dental and vision care. Or maybe you’re someone who gets your health insurance through your employer but they don’t offer dental or vision insurance.
Thankfully, that’s not the end of the road for your teeth and/or eyes.
Even if you don’t think you need a dental or vision plan, may be a good idea to get both. Dental problems can lead to other health concerns. For example, gum disease is linked to heart disease. And vision checkups can find issues, such as certain eye diseases, when they’re in their early stages.
You can buy a dental and a vision plan — and even bundle the two. Here’s why that can be a good choice, along with another option to think about.
Want to know more about bundling dental and vision insurance? Call a licensed insurance agent at 1-800-273-8115 or visit this page for more information.
The benefits of bundling dental and vision
Combining dental and vision comes with distinct advantages. Plans may not have maximum age limits, and in some cases you can use your benefits right away. Plus, they may not have waiting periods or deductibles for preventive dental care and eye exams.
One of the largest benefits may be cost savings, says Robert Denhard, a spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Insurance, based in Columbus, Ohio. Depending on how the plans are bundled, you could save compared to buying these plans separately.
If you have insurance through your employer that doesn’t include dental or vision care, bundling can help you keep up on dental cleanings and regular eye exams. It can also come in handy if you’re transitioning to a new job and don’t have insurance yet. The coverage may include a modest upfront cost. But even so, you’ll be helping protect yourself from the higher costs that could come from a dental or vision issue, especially one that’s gone unchecked as you wait for more coverage options.
Is Medicare Advantage a comparable option to bundling dental and vision?
As you figure out whether a bundled plan will work, you might consider another option if you’re a Medicare customer: Medicare Advantage (also called Medicare Part C). It’s an alternative to Original Medicare that you get through a private insurance company, and it offers similar benefits to Medicare.
What’s good about Medicare Advantage is that it typically provides built-in coverage for things such as dental, vision and hearing, according to Jonathan Frank. He’s vice president of communications at Better Medicare Alliance, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C. Frank notes that many older adults often don’t compare their Medicare options, and that can leave them unaware of what’s included in Medicare Advantage.
For example, aside from dental and vision, some of these plans might offer transportation to medical appointments, telehealth benefits and even discounts on gym memberships, Frank says. Rolling every aspect of insurance into one bundle may be the best choice based on cost.
According to Denhard, “In general, Medicare Advantage plans tend to be less expensive than supplemental plans. But be sure to carefully research the amount you’ll pay out of pocket for copayments and coinsurance and if the insurance benefits, which in some plans can be limited, will meet your needs.”
That applies to all insurance plans. You should read the fine print of your insurance policy before buying anything else so that you clearly understand what is and isn’t covered. You can also learn about the plan’s in-network providers and all the costs you’ll be paying, including the plan’s annual maximum amount.
You don’t just have your plan’s brochure. You can also call a licensed insurance agent at 1-800-273-8115 or explore uhone.com for more information on Medicare Advantage.
What type of plan is right for you?
The first step is to determine what insurance you already may have access to before buying more, suggests Denhard. “When it comes to vision and dental insurance, benefits for this type of care may be available through an employer or former employer, spouse and possibly the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,” he says.
Next, compare this information with the options through Medicare and supplemental plans. While Original Medicare doesn’t provide coverage for routine vision and dental care, different coverage combinations are available that may, Denhard adds.
You’ll have a better idea of your costs for the year once you have all the information on Original Medicare, dental and vision plans (stand-alone or bundled) and Medicare Advantage, Denhard says. And you’ll have a better grasp of your budget.
“It’s very important to do your due diligence,” Frank says. “You want to make sure you’re making an informed choice based on your needs, situation and what’s available to you.”
Setting aside time to look at different options — and getting help from a licensure insurance agent — is an investment that can pay off for your dental, vision and other health needs.
Get the help you need from professionals that know the territory. Call a licensed insurance agent at 1-800-273-8115 or search uhone.com for more information.
We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all of your options.
Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School. “Gum disease and heart disease: The common thread.” February 15, 2021. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/gum-disease-and-heart-disease-the-common-thread
National Eye Institute. “Get a Dilated Eye Exam.” May 19, 2021. Retrieved from https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/healthy-vision/get-dilated-eye-exam