How to Select a Dental Plan for Seniors

Although we all know that dental health is important, the truth is that many people don't give their teeth and gums the attention they should. For seniors in general, tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues can be a major problem. Deterioration is inevitable to some degree, but issues that go unaddressed can lead to serious and potentially harmful health problems such as tooth loss and infections that could enter the blood stream. In addition, as we get older it becomes harder for our mouths to heal after surgery, infection, and other issues. For all of these reasons it is important that seniors start (or continue) to seek proper dental care. And since many seniors operate on a fixed budget after retirement, a dental plan may be necessary to ensure ongoing preventive care and help to pay for additional unexpected costs. Here are a few tips to help senior choose the dental plan that is right for them.
1.       Referrals. Most people seek trusted sources when it comes to selecting products and services. So it's no surprise that many seniors turn to their family, friends, and colleagues to ask for advice on where to secure the best dental care and insurance. However, if you find that the information you get is not helpful to your particular situation you may want to check out listing services like 1-800-DENTIST that can help you to locate a dentist that meets all of your requirements (including services, cost, and coverage, for example).

2.       Insurance providers. When it comes to securing a dental plan that is right for you, it's a good idea to be aware of all your options. This means doing some legwork to find out which providers are willing to work with the health and financial needs of senior citizens. There are many possible providers for dental care, from big name insurance companies to discount services to state-run programs, and of course you will have to consider any that will offer you better prices or targeted services due to your inclusion in senior-specific medical programs (Medicare, for example).

3.       Dental plans. Once you have chosen a provider that you are comfortable with you'll have to decide on a plan. There are many factors to consider, such as cost, services covered, amount of coverage, deductibles, and so on. Before you decide you'll want to think about your particular dental needs, your current budget, and your lifestyle (if you travel frequently, for example, you want to make sure that your coverage includes emergency care outside your city, state, or country of origin).

4.       Dental service providers. The main issue here is that you may already have a service provider that you prefer, but your dental plan doesn't cover. In this case you might have to try a new dentist in order to utilize benefits, find insurers that include your dentist in their networks, or simply pay out-of-pocket for your regular care (cleanings and so on) and then use your insurance for major expenses or services your current dentist doesn't offer.

5.       Senior services. There are many organizations that are geared towards providing the services that senior citizens need, from housing and transportation issues (selling a home, completing a reverse mortgage, and maintaining independence), to financial problems (securing balance transfer credit cards), to medical care and prescription assistance. Consider contacting the social security administration, AARP, or any number of governmental and private organizations that work on behalf of seniors in order to find the dental plan that works best for you.

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