Boss: Does your financial plan have a cavity?
“Seniors leaving the workforce are often taken by surprise when they lose their dental insurance. Out-of-pocket dental expenses can eat away at your retirement nest egg.” — Lyle Boss
Regardless of your age, oral health plays a massive role in your physical health and wellbeing. This is especially true when you retire.
Keeping your smile in good working order serves more than just an aesthetic purpose; proper oral care improves the quality of life. Since your mouth is the gateway to your respiratory and digestive systems, keeping it healthy is good preventative medicine. Unfortunately, getting the proper dental care when you are at or near retirement can prove challenging, especially if you lost coverage due to a layoff or forced early retirement. Dental coverage can be overlooked in the planning process. While there are ways to make dental care more affordable, pre-retirees would do well to work a comprehensive dental emergency plan into their retirement blueprint.
Medicare doesn’t cover dental.
Medicare won’t cover most dental procedures, supplies, or preventative care such as cleaning, dentures, devices, or tooth extractions. Medicare Part A only offers limited coverage for specific dental services you may need in a hospital, such as major oral surgery after a life-threatening injury or illness.
Retirees might want to consider purchasing private dental insurance. Lower-cost plans covering primarily preventative care such as x-rays and cleaning are available, as are more comprehensive policies providing higher coverage limits for restorative dental care.
Don’t put off repairs and treatments.
The earlier you manage your dental needs, particularly while you are still working, the more affordable your overall care will be. Avoiding the dentist increases the odds that a minor toothache could become much more painful and expensive.
The older you get, the more likely you will experience dental work failure, gum disease, and root cavities. That’s why as you age it’s even more crucial to see your dentist at least twice a year, even if you have to pay out-of-pocket. Also, if you require a major procedure, be sure to ask your dentist about possible alternatives that might be less expensive and invasive.
Research independent dental plans
Choosing the right affordable dental plan is essential, but the process can be somewhat daunting due to the many programs currently available. Many dental policies may be purchased directly online, while others are available from medical and dental coverage agents. Either way, you should discover the answers to essential questions such as:
- Will I need a primary dentist to direct my care?
- Can I choose my dentist, or am I required to have a dentist in the network?
- Is there a waiting period for things such as implants or dentures?
- Is there coverage for pre-existing conditions such as broken or chipped teeth?
- Will the policy cover me if I travel or move to another state?
- What procedures are excluded from coverage?
- What is the charge to add a spouse to my policy?
Summing it up:
Dental care is one of the most common and costly expenses pre-retirees forget to include when planning. Putting off necessary care may cause a common toothache to escalate into a crisis that could deplete a significant portion of your retirement savings and negatively impact your health.
Lyle Boss is a member of Syndicated Columnists, a national organization committed to a fully transparent approach to money management. Contact him at 801-475-9400 or safemoneylyleboss.com.