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Dental care is a very important part of your overall health. The thought of dental care and the associated costs can be intimidating to most. There are a couple of different options when it comes to paying for your dental work. Whether you have private insurance, government aid or are paying out of pocket you’ll need to know what you have and what it all covers. There are also measures you can take to help reduce your costs with your dentist!
Medicare and Medicaid Coverages
There are many people who are able to participate in the government assisted insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Medicare is for those that are 65 and older or for those that have severe disabilities, no matter your income. Medicaid is specifically for those that have low income and need the extra assistance including children and their parents, pregnant women, the elderly and those with disabilities.
When it comes to dental, both programs have their own offered coverages. Medicare does not cover comprehensive dental care costs. Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) will pay for certain emergency dental procedures. On the other hand, Medicaid covers dental services for all children (up to age 18). It’s up to the individual state to decide whether or not to provide adult dental coverage for those on Medicaid. Most states provide at least emergency dental to adults. However, less than half of the states offer comprehensive dental care for adults.
How to Help Reduce Dental Costs
An estimated 164 million work hours are lost each year due to oral disease. Good oral health is an important part of your overall health and regular checkups and cleanings are necessary. With regular screenings your dentist can help catch any problems before they get out of hand. On average, it’s suggested to go to your dentist for a cleaning twice a year, once every 6 months. Two dental visits a year to maintain your dental health end up being cheaper than emergency dental work due to disease and toothaches going unchecked for too long. A preventive dental visit includes an oral exam, x-rays, cleaning and a fluoride treatment. A lot of insurance companies cover most, if not all, of the preventive dental visit. Other ways to help reduce your dental costs are:
- Use an in-network dentist with your insurance. They can provide discounted rates and take care of your paperwork for you. With an out-of-network dentist you’re responsible for ensuring the proper paperwork and claims are filed with your insurance. You’re also responsible for paying any overages your plan doesn’t allow or cover.
- Understand your dental benefits and coverage levels. Each dental insurance plan covers different services at different costs. When you sign up for your dental plan you are usually given a dental insurance handbook. You can reference your handbook for your coverages and allowances. You can also either call or visit your insurance’s website to review your benefits.
- Maintain proper dental hygiene. It’s recommended to brush and floss your teeth twice a day for two minutes.
- Comparison shop. There are usually several dentists within your provider’s network for you to choose from. Call each to see what types of services are offered and the costs associated. Compare what services you need and go with the best offer!
- Ask about payment plans. A lot of dentist offices offer payment plans for those with tight budgets. Ask your dentist’s billing office for your options and possible discounts.
- Create an emergency dental fund. Start a savings account specifically for your dental needs. Each month put what you can into this account. Then when it comes time for your dental work you will have some extra cash to help pay your bill.
- Consider a dental loan. Sometimes a dental emergency strikes when you least expect it and when you can least afford it. With a dental loan you can take care of your emergency sooner rather than later. You’ll then have monthly manageable payment, instead of one large bill all at once.
Don’t let the cost of dental care keep you from maintaining good dental health. Through insurance and personal choices, you’ll be able to better manage your dental bill. Contact us to schedule your dental appointment now!