This is one of the most asked questions about Medicare coverage. Many people ask this question related to a Medicare plan that they are considering but more often than not it’s an emergency situation that drives them to ask if Medicare will cover dental care.
What about Medicare coverage for dentures or crowns and bridges?
This article will address what type of dental services Medicare will cover and what is not covered. Also we’ll look at which types of Medicare plans will include dental coverage and how to find them.
Before we dive into the topic of whether or not Medicare covers dental care you should know that Medicare was not designed to be comprehensive health coverage… just a warning!
Will original Medicare cover dental?
This question is the starting point of determining not only what is covered but also learning how to find plans that will offer expanded dental coverage. Understanding these basics of Medicare covered dental service will help you narrow your Medicare plan choices if dental is a major concern.
Medicare Covered Dental services:
- Dental services provided under Medicare Part A where hospitalization is required in connection with the service.
- Dental is covered if it is directly related to a covered expense such as jaw reconstruction after an injury.
- The extraction of teeth in relation to radiation treatment is covered.
- An oral exam may be covered prior to a kidney transplant or heart valve surgery.
This is a very narrow list of what dental services are covered by Medicare. Also don’t expect that in the current political climate dental benefits will be added to Medicare.
What is not covered? – Everything else!
- Routine dental is not covered by Medicare.
- Extractions, fillings, crowns and bridges are also not covered.
- Dentures or replacement teeth such as an implant are not covered.
Does Medigap cover dentures and dental care?
No. Medigap does not provide any coverage for dental because Medigap only pays your portion of Medicare covered expenses. If it’s not covered by Medicare, Medigap insurance will be of no benefit.
So when does Medicare cover dental?
Aside from the points listed above which are mostly related to being hospitalized as a result of a dental problem or related condition your only option is to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that includes dental coverage.
Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies allowing you to receive your Medicare benefits directly from the plan. Many Advantage plans include some dental coverage.
Types of Dental Coverage included in Medicare Advantage Plans:
- Routine exams and cleanings are often covered.
- Many plans include discounts for restorative dental care.
- Some plans will include expanded dental benefits for an additional premium.
If you visit the Medicare website you will see a small icon next to Medicare Advantage plans that offer some dental benefits. You should consult each plan’s Summary of Benefits to see the extent of dental coverage.
So the short answer to, “Does Medicare cover dental or dentures?’ is… no not really. This unfortunately leaves you exposed to the possibility of major dental expenses. To protect yourself you could consider purchasing a separate plan that includes dental for seniors.