By Rachael Green, Benzinga
Open enrollment for Medicare is set to begin on October 15 this year, meaning the 60 million Americans already enrolled along with newly eligible beneficiaries will be reading up on the upcoming changes to their plans and comparing the coverage options this fall.
Since dental benefits can vary from one Medicare Advantage plan to the next and arent included at all in Original Medicare, it can be tough to figure out what the best fit is. Because of this, many look to dental insurance alternatives, like dental savings plans. Make sure youre fully prepared to make the best dental plan choice for you and your family by following these steps.
1. Make A List Of Your Anticipated Dental Care Needs
Finding the best plan for you involves more than just choosing the cheapest premium. Ultimately, the way to save the most money is to choose the plan that provides the biggest savings of all or as much as possible of the care you need or may need.
To find that plan, it helps to have a list of everything you want included. If you wear dentures, for example, you might need more than the standard cleanings and checkups, like denture resizing or replacement.
If your dentist recommended multiple root canals or other complicated care and youre waiting for the new year to finish the work when your coverage resets, now is definitely the time to look for a plan that offers a higher annual maximum or no annual maximum and no preexisting condition exclusions on the work you need.
2. Read The Plan Annual Notice Of Change You Get This Month Carefully
If you are already enrolled in a plan that includes dental benefits, your current provider should send you a Plan Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) sometime this month. This will detail any changes to the costs or coverages in your plan.
Read through this carefully so you can decide whether the new policy will still meet your needs based on that list of anticipated needs you made earlier. That way, if it doesnt, you can start shopping around now to switch, drop the plan or add additional savings plans when open enrollment starts.
3. Compare Your Medicare Advantage Options Even If Youre Happy With Your Current Plan
Insurance companies can join or leave Medicare every year. That means there is always the risk that your current provider will leave, forcing you to choose a new plan or go back to Original Medicare. But it also means that new plans that are now available might be even better suited to your needs than the one youre currently on. So its worth it to shop around and compare your options ahead of every open enrollment period, regardless of how happy you are with your current plan. There are also options outside of Medicare Advantage and Original Medicare that may better meet your needs.
This is especially true when it comes to dental benefits which tend to be more limited and restrictive. If you know youre going to need more than the routine dental cleaning and checkups next year, you could be leaving serious benefits on the table if you dont shop around to see if theres a new option with better dental coverage than your current plan.
4. Consider Adding A Dental Savings Plan To The Mix To Cut Costs
While MA plans typically offer dental, vision and prescription drug benefits, they can often come with low annual limits or other coverage restrictions that make them less cost-effective in the long run. One way to ensure you can keep costs down is to sign up for a dental savings plan.
These plans arent insurance. They are a trusted alternative to dental insurance. Plan members pay a low annual fee for access to savings on virtually all dental procedures, from routine preventative care to restorative dental procedures and even cosmetic dental care like dental implants, which insurance usually does not cover. Plan members report an average savings of 50%* on their dental care at over 140,000 participating dentists and specialists nationwide.
These plans have no annual limit, no restrictions based on current health conditions or existing dental concerns, and are activated within 1-3 business days. They are a great compliment to any Medicare plan. Some plans also include similar discounts for other care thats not covered by Original Medicare like vision, hearing or prescription drugs.
Finding the best plan to save you money on your dental care as a Medicare beneficiary doesnt have to be complicated. Compare your Medicare options, and then head to DentalPlans.com to compare dental plan options. You can get a personalized dental plan recommendation online in minutes or give their expert team a call.
Visit DentalPlans.com today and be ready for open enrollment.
* Discount Health Program consumer & provider surveys indicate average savings of 50%. Savings may vary by provider, location, and plan.
DentalPlans.com, founded in 1999, is a leading online marketplace for dental savings plans in the U.S., helping more than a million people to affordably access quality healthcare services. Our mission is to empower consumers with the tools, information, and services that they need to live happier, healthier lives.
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Micah Reed is an entrepreneur, editor and businessman. he is born in 1977.
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