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You probably know that dental and vision plans are not offered through Medicare. 

If you purchase a Medicare Advantage plan, then you will usually get some basic, routine dental and vision insurance. Most plans have low annual maximums and limited or no coverage for basic and major dental services. However, some plans have surprisingly good coverage.

Vision plan benefits typically include an annual exam and an allowance up to $100 to $150 for frames and lenses. 

If you have the need for dental care.

Let’s say your dentist told you that you will need a crown or root canal in the near future, then you’ll need to strategize.  

First off, if you’re on a group dental plan, then try to get your dental work done before you lose that coverage.  If you have the option of keeping dental insurance through your (or your spouse’s) employer, that’s usually going to be your best bet.  

Let’s say you opt for a Medigap plan and a Part D (prescription drug) plan, but you really want to maintain dental and vision insurance, too.  That’s a smart move. People who see the dentist twice a year or more for cleanings and check-ups tend to have much better oral health.  

Waiting Periods

You can opt for a stand-alone dental plan, however, be aware the vast majority of dental plans available will not cover major dental work for at least 12 months – even if you have had continuous dental coverage (with no lapse).  Some will cover a very small percentage (10% or 20%) during the first year.  

TIP:  A few carriers do not have waiting periods if you have had previous employer-sponsored dental insurance with no lapse in coverage. Similarly, most dental insurance plans – that are not part of a Medicare Advantage plan – do not require waiting periods. Ask your agent about this.

There are several stand-alone dental plans – and dental/vision/hearing plans – on the market.  Some are decent and some have very weak benefits and low annual maximums. It’s important to compare plans and choose one that meets your needs and budget. 

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