Does Medicare Cover Dental – People who are new to Medicare often have a lot of questions. One of the most common questions we get asked is, “Does Medicare cover dental, vision, and hearing services?” The answer? Yes…and no.
To give you a better answer to that question, we’ll need to break down the details of Medicare coverage for each of those three healthcare services. Once you understand what’s covered and what isn’t, we’ll be able to look at other options you have to get the benefits you need.
Original Medicare and Dental, Vision, and Hearing Services
Let’s start by talking about Medicare Part A and Part B and what coverage they provide for dental, vision, and hearing.
Medicare only covers dental treatment in two scenarios. It will cover jaw reconstruction following an accidental injury and tooth extractions when they’re done in preparation for radiation treatment of the jaw. Those are pretty specific situations and not usually the kind people refer to when asking if Medicare covers dental treatment. As far as dental cleanings, fillings, crowns, root canals, dentures, and implants, Original Medicare is of no help.
Fortunately, it does a little better job with vision services. When you think about your vision care, ask yourself what kind of doctor is doing the treatment. Doing so will help you decide if Medicare covers it. You’ll be seeing an ophthalmologist if you’re having cataract surgery, cornea transplants, or being treated for glaucoma or macular degeneration. Ophthalmologists are MDs (Medical Doctors), so their services fall under the medical category and are covered by Medicare Part B.
Now, you may not have the same kind of coverage when it comes to eye exams, contact lenses, or prescription eyeglasses. In some cases, Medicare will help pay for these. But for routine exams and glasses to treat otherwise healthy eyes, it will not.
Last topic: hearing benefits. To put it simply, Medicare does not pay for hearing services. If you need hearing aids, exams, or fittings, you won’t have coverage under Original Medicare. The only time you’ll have some coverage is if your doctor requests an exam to help them diagnose a problem that might require medical treatment.
Options for Dental, Vision, and Hearing Coverage
Paying out of pocket for all those services is not appealing to most people. After we deliver the bad news about Medicare not covering most dental, vision, or hearing services, the next question we get asked is how someone can obtain insurance to help pay for these things.
Enroll in Medicare Advantage
One way you can obtain dental, vision, and hearing benefits is by enrolling in a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan that includes that coverage. Not every Part C plan offers these benefits, and the specific coverage will vary from one plan to the next. However, most Medicare Advantage plans have generous benefits, especially when it comes to the dental portion.
Don’t enroll in Part C solely for these extra benefits. Speak with one of our licensed agents and make sure you understand how Part C works before enrolling. These plans can often be an excellent, low-cost option, but be sure you understand all the out-of-pocket costs.
Enroll in a Stand-Alone DVH Plan
Whether you have Original Medicare (with or without a Medicare Supplement) or a Medicare Advantage plan, you can also choose to enroll in a separate Dental, Vision, Hearing (DVH) plan. There are several insurance companies that offer DVH policies at very affordable premiums. You’ll choose a plan based on the coverage you need. For example, if you know you need several crowns or a dental implant, we’ll find a plan that will help with that treatment.
The biggest chunk of a DVH plan is typically dedicated to dental benefits. Though there will be some coverage for vision and hearing, they’re not the main reason someone would choose to enroll. You can also find a plan that offers only dental or vision coverage if that’s what you’re after. However, most beneficiaries choose a combination plan to ensure they have coverage in all three areas.
If you’d like to learn more about how to get your dental, vision, and hearing services covered, you can listen to our podcast episode or just call The Medicare Help Desk. We’ll help you determine if you already have coverage or give you several options to enroll. Call to schedule your consultation today.