Seniors and retirees need medical insurance, especially now that they’ve entered into the twilight years of their lives. They are more vulnerable than ever to medical illnesses and accidents that can prove to be financially crippling. This also applies to dental insurance, with most experts recommending a visit to the dentist at least twice on an annual basis.
However, dental insurance plans have certain restrictions that limit the option of services members can avail, involve long waiting time, and require high premiums. The good news for seniors is that there are a number of alternatives to dental insurance they can consider.
1. Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Most dental issues can be prevented by taking good care of your teeth and gums, and consuming a healthy diet. Poor diet choices such as sugary drink and acidic foods cause wear and tear on your tooth enamel. Simple habits such as holding the toothbrush right, applying the right amount of toothpaste, flossing, and tongue cleaning go a long way in reducing several dental problems.
2. It Can Be Cheaper to Pay Yourself
You heard that right. Most insurance companies cash in on consumer fears that dental services are unusually high and are only covered under insurance. But if you do your math, you’ll realize that it can be much cheaper to pay out of pocket for certain procedures than to buy insurance. Fees also vary according to the dentist’s office and your location. After all, it doesn’t justify spending thousands on dental insurance when all you needed is to have your teeth cleaned for a total of $200 to $400.
3. Reduce the Frequency of Dental Appointments
Although we recommended two appointments a year, studies have shown that most seniors need only one exam per annum. This is only the case if you don’t have serious dental issues. At the same time, it also means you can’t afford to skip that one annual dental exam. Seeing your dentist once a year can save you from costly and life-threatening diseases.
Early detection of diseases that are preventable is much better than finding out later that you have major dental condition.
4. Discount Dental Plans
At first glance, discount dental plans seem like another term for dental insurance. However, they’re not the same. Discount dental plans were created out of a need to expedite dental services to seniors who would otherwise be subjected to restrictive plans of dental agencies.
Most discount plans only charge a small annual fee in exchange for massively discounted services from network providers. Furthermore, you can avail a large number of services that insurance plans shy away from. Companies such as Aetna have access to over 360,000 dentists around the country, making it possible to get dental appointments whenever and wherever.
In some cases, dental plans also include miscellaneous benefits such as hearing and vision plans without any additional payment. Just make sure you read all the services that are covered under the plan because many companies have their own nuances.
Dental Care Savings
5. Back to School
Most dental schools at colleges and universities offer free or discounted dental care. They are ideal for seniors who are on a tight budget or want to avail a service that is not offered under their existing insurance plan. Discount dental work through dental schools comes at a fraction of the cost and same quality.
Remember, you’re not just a guinea pig for dental students to perform their ‘experiments’ on, they are in fact, under strict observation by licensed dentists who provide the necessary supervision to ensure the procedure is done perfectly. It’s the equivalent of being worked on by the licensed dentist him or herself.
Students take this job seriously because they want to advance in their careers. Just make sure the school is accredited by checking out this link.
6. Pay on Spot
Many dentists are willing to provide generous discounts such as 10% off provided you pay at the time of the visit. Dentists have to battle out their own problems with insurance agencies and often wait for long before getting redeemed by insurance agencies.
If you want to learn about a list of dentists that offer such discounts, shop around, use search engines, or ask friends for a few recommendations. You can also phone dentists to see if they offer discounts, chances are that most will agree.
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Visit Charitable Clinics
There are a large number of dental clinics that are willing to offer free service by qualified dentist volunteers. You simply have to overcome the social stigma of getting help. Everyone faces hardships at some point in their lives, and the key is to seek help.
Certain organizations such as America’s Dentists Care Foundation have a network of volunteer dentists who are willing to provide effective low-cost care.
8. Dental Tourism
It is true that the warped up industry of insurance and healthcare has inflated the cost of getting a treatment beyond what an average senior can afford. The good news is that you can visit top countries around the world with thriving dental industries that cater to senior foreigners at just a tiny fraction of the price including:
- Costa Rica
Just make sure to do plenty of research before visiting them. Dental tourism, while cheap, isn’t a walk in the park. Here is a checklist you can refer to in order to verify if a certain clinic is offering high-quality care.
Whether you are seeking an individual or family plan your area, at we have you covered. See our range of discount dental plans.
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