The Best Dental Insurance Plans for Seniors and Retirees

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 23 percent of American adults over 65 years old have not seen a dentist in five years. This is likely due to the prohibitive cost of dental care, as people within this age bracket are more likely to need expensive treatments like implants, root canals, and dentures.

Though most adults over 65 qualify for Medicare, this government-funded insurance plan does not cover the cost of even the most basic dental treatment. The only time Medicare coverage would apply to dental work is if that treatment were carried out in a hospital, as part of a treatment plan for another medical condition or injury.

Getting decent dental insurance coverage is the best way to offset the cost of dental care. Unfortunately, many insurance plans do not cover the cost of dentures and other restorative treatments.

Luckily, there are several dental insurance providers in the United States who offer specialist insurance plans aimed directly at seniors and retirees.

Delta Dental

Delta Dental is one of America’s leading dental insurance providers. The company operates in every state and currently provides more than 80 million people of all ages with affordable dental coverage.

Delta Dental is widely regarded as one of the best overall value insurance providers for seniors and retirees. In fact, the organization has partnered with AARP to develop discounted insurance plans to cover the kind of treatment older adults typically need.

You can view their plans and pricing here.

Customers can choose from:

  • The more expensive PPO insurance option, which allows you to be treated by any dentist in the United States, or;
  • The more affordable HMO option, which would restrict you to using dentists within Delta Dental’s network.

Pros

  • All AARP members are guaranteed to be accepted
  • Offer a zero-deductible plan
  • Options for immediate preventative care, fillings, and extractions
  • Restorative dentistry covered

Cons

  • Using out of network dentists may increase costs
  • Their PPO plans have low annual caps on treatment

Humana

Humana offers dental insurance coverage in every state and offer a range of plans suitable for older adults and retirees.

Of the various providers assessed for this article, Humana is the best option for people on a tight budget. Although all Humana’s plans are PPO, not all their insurance options are available in every state.

One of Humana’s biggest selling points is that they reward loyalty by increasing their annual maximum payout each year that you keep your policy running. Plus, their most basic Preventative Value plan offers no waiting periods on all preventative care and emergency treatment.

You can view their plans and pricing here.

Pros

  • Very large network of dental care providers
  • Broad selection of plans to suit every budget
  • No-waiting plans available
  • Loyal customers are rewarded with increasing annual maximums

Cons

  • Up to six months wait for non-emergency fillings
  • Annual maximums are low in the first year
  • An enrolment fee of $35 applies

Cigna

Preventative care becomes even more important as we age. With the right preventative dental plan, you can avoid needing major restorative work for as long as possible.

As the best option for preventive dental coverage, Cigna currently insures more than 17 million people around the United States. They are also the most well-established organization on this list, having been in business for over 225 years.

Cigna offers three insurance plans that may be suitable for seniors. Their Cigna Dental Preventative plan is the cheapest at just $19 per person per month. Their most expensive and full-coverage plan is called Cigna Dental 1500, which covers basic dental procedures, some restorative procedures, and some forms of orthodontic work.

You can view their plans and pricing here.

Pros

  • All in-network preventative care is covered at 100 percent
  • No waiting period for preventative care
  • Huge network of over 93,000 dentists
  • Excellent customer service, including a 24-hour helpline

Cons

  • No basic treatments or restorative care covered on their basic plan
  • Low annual maximums on most plans

Aflac

Aflac has been providing dental insurance since 1955. Currently, the company serves around 50 million people in the United States.

Aflac is the best option for seniors who may need to see multiple specialists for different treatments or have a preferred dentist they would like to keep using. This is because Aflac reimburses their customers directly rather than paying out to in-network dentists. As a result, Aflac customers are free to use any certified dentist in the country without incurring additional costs.

Aflac offer a range of insurance plans which cover restorative care, though it is worth keeping in mind that the waiting period for dentures in up to 24-months. Pain relief, extractions, and root canals also have waiting periods. However, most plans cover preventative care and diagnostics with no waiting period whatsoever.

You can view their plans and pricing here.

Pros

  • Customers can choose any dentist
  • Payments are made directly to you
  • Ranks well for customer satisfaction
  • Zero deductibles

Cons

  • Aflac does not cover all states
  • Treatment for pre-existing missing teeth is not covered
  • Customers must be able to pay for treatment upfront
  • The cost of replacing crowns is not covered unless the previous crown was fitted more than five years ago

Get the Best Dental Insurance Plan

Whether you are a senior or not, finding the right dental insurance plan for you is a matter of taking the time to shop around. The general advice is that you should seek insurance quotes from multiple providers before making a final decision.

You will get the best results if you go into your search for insurance with a clear idea of your budget and what treatment you are likely to need over the coming years. It’s no good choosing a heavily discounted insurance option if you end up needing expensive treatment six months down the line, which is not covered in your plan.

It may be useful to use an online dental insurance comparison tool to help you weigh up the available options.

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