Medicare offers very limited coverage for dental, vision, and hearing aids. The best way to ensure that you have regular coverage for dental, vision, and hearing services is to exchange your Original Medicare plan for a Medicare Advantage plan. If you would rather keep your Original Medicare plan, you may purchase a Medicare Supplemental plan that has coverage for dental, vision, and hearing.
What Is a Medicare Advantage Plan?
Medicare Advantage is also known as “Medicare Part C,” and it is a plan that Medicare approves. You must purchase a Medicare Advantage plan from a private insurance company. Your Medicare Advantage plan bundles your Original Medicare benefits into one health insurance plan. Therefore, a Medicare Advantage plan gives you your hospital benefits or Medicare Part A, your medical insurance benefits or Medicare Part B, and prescription drug coverage or Medicare Part D.
What Do Medicare Advantage Plans Cover?
When you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you are not giving up anything that you can receive with Original Medicare. That is because Medicare Advantage plans must provide all of the benefits that Original Medicare provides for you except hospice care. Medicare will cover hospice care for you even if you decide to switch to a Medicare Advantage plan. Most importantly, you may be able to qualify for a plan that covers the dental, vision, and hearing services that you need.
Who Can Purchase a Medicare Advantage Plan?
You can purchase a Medicare Advantage plan if you currently have Original Medicare. You must also live in the service area of the Medicare Advantage plan that you wish to join.
Example of a Medicare Advantage Plan.
Some Medicare Advantage plans offer coverage for annual hearing examinations. You may receive a fitting for hearing aids at no cost. You may also receive benefits for a yearly eye examination. Lastly, some plans offer coverage for dental exams, X-rays, and cleanings, recognizing the importance of oral health. The plan you choose will be within a network, so you will need to see a provider within the network. Otherwise, the plan will not pay for your hearing, vision, or dental services. Ensuring comprehensive healthcare coverage, including dental services, is vital for maintaining overall well-being and avoiding issues related to poor dental health.
How Much Does a Medicare Advantage Plan Cost?
If you purchase a Medicare Advantage plan, you will purchase it from a private insurance company. You can apply for a Medicare Advantage plan from any private insurance company that offers Medicare Advantage plans. The price you will pay for your Medicare Advantage plan depends on the private insurance company, and there are several. In this case, the best way to get the best price for the most amount of coverage is to compare the prices that different insurance companies give you.
What Is a Medigap Plan?
Original Medicare covers many of the expenses for your health care services and the supplies you may need, but it leaves a portion of this cost for you to pay. A Medigap plan is a health insurance plan that you purchase from a private insurance company, but it is supplemental insurance.
Medicare has out-of-pocket costs for you to cover, and these gaps include deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. A Medigap plan supplements your Original Medicare plan, so it closes the “gaps” left over by Medicare. First, your provider will bill Medicare for your medical costs. Then, your provider bills your secondary or Medigap plan for the rest of the charges. If there is anything left over, your provider will bill you, but your Medigap plan may significantly reduce the amount that you are required to pay.
Who Can Purchase a Medigap Plan?
The Medigap enrollment period begins the first month that you are enrolled in Medicare Part B and are 65 or older, and it lasts for six months. When you enroll during this period, the insurance company is not allowed to turn you down for a Medigap policy. They also are prohibited from charging you more money if you have a pre-existing condition.
If you cannot enroll in a Medigap plan during your enrollment period, you can still purchase a Medigap plan. However, if you do not have a guaranteed issue right, an insurance company is not required to approve you for a Medigap plan.
An Example of a Medigap Plan: Medigap Plan F.
Plan F offers you the most extensive supplemental coverage, including the following:
- 80% of emergency services during foreign travel
- Part B excess charge
- Part B deductible
- Part A deductible
- Skilled nursing care facility coinsurance
- Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment
- First 3 pints of blood
- Part B coinsurance or copayment
- Part A coinsurance
You also receive an additional 365 days of coverage for hospital expenses after your Medicare coverage ends.
How Much Does a Medigap Plan Cost?
Since you purchase Medigap plans from private insurance companies, these companies are free to charge you whatever they like for your plan. The good news is that different insurance companies may charge very different prices for the same amount of coverage. Therefore, the best plan is to get a quote for a Medigap plan from several different insurance companies. Then, you can choose to purchase a plan from the company that offers you the most coverage for the lowest price.
If you would like more information about Medicare Advantage or Medigap plans, visit Medicare.gov. You will be able to find the information you need on plan types and the plans that are available in your area.
Why Opt for Medicare Advantage? Comprehensive Coverage, Including Dental Emergencies
When you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you are not giving up anything that you can receive with Original Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans must provide all the benefits that Original Medicare offers, except hospice care. Most importantly, you may qualify for a plan that covers the dental, vision, and hearing services you need. Beyond routine dental coverage, some plans extend their commitment to your well-being by providing coverage for unforeseen situations, such as a dental emergency. Understanding the importance of comprehensive coverage ensures that your healthcare needs, from routine check-ups to unexpected emergencies, are taken care of under your chosen Medicare Advantage plan.