This Medical Expense Costs Retirees $1000 Annually, Even with Insurance!
If you’re planning for retirement, you must have thought about the medical expenses that accompany old age. However, there’s a big chance that you’re overlooking dental care. Has that caught you by surprise?
Although it is nothing to take comfort in, you are not alone in this. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that 37 million Americans lack dental coverage, particularly because Medicare doesn’t cover dental expenses.
Going by a study carried out by the Foundation, Medicare beneficiaries who visit the dentist have to pay an average of around $922 out of their own pocket every year. Give or take a few other related expenses, let’s call it $1,000.
For those who want dental coverage, insurers like Medicaid and Medicare Advantage are the top picks. There are also those who individually purchase their own covers with individual insurance plans, while some retirees are lucky enough to have an insurance plan provided by their former employers.
You must have wondered why Medicare doesn’t cover dental expenses, right? While that could be anyone’s guess, interested parties have been lobbying for the inclusion of dental care in the national health insurance program.
Of course, the Kaiser Family Foundation has been at the forefront of this, with the non-profit organization recently breaking down how it can finally be done. According to them, policy changes to Part B of the insurance plan that covers outpatient services are the best bet to including dental coverage in the program.
More specifically, they propose the addition of dental benefits to Part B, in addition to having a whole other Medicare part that will include dental benefits on a voluntary basis. They seem to have cracked the code, right? If only someone in government could see this.
If we’re being honest, dental expenses are a bit on the higher side. Not even those with coverage are spared, as Kaiser report. Referring to the case of a 72-year-old who visited the dentist twice in a space of six months, the patient was required to pay $3,300. This much, and the patient is insured for dental care. Without the plan, he would have had to pay an extra $1,000.
So, how can retirees circumnavigate this? As Carolyn McClanahan, a physician who’s also a financial planner puts it, the first step is to fully understand the plan you’re on. This boils down to your deductibles, co-insurance, and applicable co-payments, all of which you should be fully knowledgeable on.
Finding an Acceptable Plan
Additionally, you have to confirm that your dentist takes the plan you’re on. Needless to say, your dental coverage won’t help you much if your dentist doesn’t accept your insurance provider. If they don’t, you may find yourself spending your own cash because changing dentists isn’t always an option one wants to take.
One other precaution that retirees can take is to have a well-stocked emergency fund. This, really, is one of the most basic aspects of saving, and you don’t have to stop doing so just because you’re retired.
Toothaches and other dental issues are as huge an emergency as any, particularly because no one ever sees them coming. Truth be told, if tooth decay hits you hard but your emergency kitty can cover all expense, you won’t even feel the pinch.
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