MAYNARD, MA--(March 5, 2012) - Today PlanPrescriber (www.planprescriber.com), a wholly-owned subsidiary of eHealth, Inc (NASDAQ: EHTH), published advice for Medicare beneficiaries who are interested in purchasing stand-alone dental insurance coverage. “Original Medicare” (Parts A and B) does not provide dental insurance coverage.
If a Medicare beneficiary has a medical emergency that involves their teeth, original Medicare may cover those emergency costs, depending on what services are needed and who performs them. But, the traditional dental coverage most people are accustomed to getting from an employer (cleanings, fillings and crowns) are not a part of basic Medicare coverage.
Dental Insurance is not simply ‘Health Insurance for your teeth.’ Compared to traditional major medical health insurance that can cover a comprehensive range of health needs, dental coverage is generally limited to very specific services: cleanings and checkups, fillings, crowns, root canals – for example. Covered services and out-of-pocket costs can vary. For that reason, Medicare beneficiaries should review the following tips before purchasing a plan.
Dental Insurance Tips for Medicare Beneficiaries
- Medicare Supplement Insurance plans don’t provide dental insurance coverage. If you have a medical emergency that involves your teeth, routinely Medicare Parts A and B (Original Medicare) may cover those emergency costs, depending on what services you need and who performs them. And, if Original Medicare covers your procedure, a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan is more likely to cover your out-of-pocket costs for that emergency. But, that supplement will not cover preventive dental services like cleanings, fillings and crowns.
- Some Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans provide dental coverage. Many Medicare Advantage plans routinely provide benefits like dental and vision coverage. So, if you’re on a Medicare Advantage plan or considering enrolling in one, check to see if the plan provides dental coverage before you buy a separate dental insurance policy.
- Be sure your dentist takes your plan. If you have a preferred dentist, find out what plans they accept before you enroll in a plan. Websites like eHealthInsurance, and the licensed agents in their call center, can help you search for plans with your doctor in them. Stand-alone dental insurance policies are typically going to give you a far better price for services performed by dentists in their network. Almost all policies use a tiered cost-sharing system, and you pay the least out of pocket for services when you use a dentist from the plan’s network.
- Read the fine print. Most stand-alone dental insurance plans have cost-sharing requirements (co-pays, deductibles and coinsurance) so you should be sure you know how much you’ll spend for regular checkups or emergency dental work. And, expensive procedures like crowns and root canals may be subject to higher deductibles and co-payment than routine cleanings or fillings, depending on the plan you have.
- Cosmetic dental surgery is almost never covered. Medicare beneficiaries should not expect an individually purchased dental insurance plan to provide coverage for cosmetic or elective procedures like teeth whitening or dental implants. There may be plans out there that provide those benefits, but they’re not the norm.
- Only buy what you need. If you’re over age 65, chances are you don’t need braces. And, if you don’t need braces, don’t waste money a plan that covers them. Stand-alone dental insurance policies come in all shapes and sizes. Some plans cover everything from braces to cleanings, while others cover a more limited set of benefits. Skipping the plans that offer dental benefits you don’t need could save you money.
- Don’t wait for problems to arise. If you want to buy dental insurance on Monday and have major dental surgery on Tuesday, you may be disappointed. Most dental insurance plans have waiting periods for any major dental work, so don’t procrastinate.
PlanPrescriber (www.planprescriber.com), a wholly-owned subsidiary of eHealth, Inc., is a leading provider of comparison tools and educational materials for Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans, and Medicare Supplement insurance products. Medicare beneficiaries can take advantage of PlanPrescriber's no cost, no obligation online advisor tools by logging on to www.PlanPrescriber.com. PlanPrescriber is a tool designed to help Medicare recipients find a Medicare plan that covers their specific medical and prescription drug needs at the lowest possible out-of-pocket cost.
eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH) is the parent company of eHealthInsurance, one of the nation's leading online source of health insurance for individuals, families and small businesses. Through the company's website,www.eHealthInsurance.com, consumers can get quotes from leading health insurance carriers, compare plans side by side, and apply for and purchase health insurance. eHealthInsurance offers thousands of individual, family and small business health plans underwritten by more than 180 of the nation's leading health insurance companies. eHealthInsurance is licensed to sell health insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, making it the ideal model of a successful, high-functioning health insurance exchange. Through eHealth's technology solutions (www.eHealthTechnology.com), is also a leading provider of health insurance exchange technology. eHealth provides a suite of hosted e-commerce solutions that enable health plan providers, resellers and government entities to market and distribute products online. eHealth, Inc. also provides online tools to help beneficiaries navigate Medicare health insurance options through PlanPrescriber.com (www.planprescriber.com) and eHealthMedicare (www.eHealthMedicare.com).
For more news and information about health insurance, health reform and Medicare, visit eHealth's consumer blog: Get Smart - Get Covered.