On major retiree health care expense that is often overlooked is the cost of dental care. Medicare does not cover dental crown cost including dentures, fillings and cleanings. People who have individually purchased dental coverage or workplace retiree insurance choose private dental care. While dental insurance can reduce the costs of dental care, there are still out-of-pocket expenses.
According to FAIR Health Consumer that estimates the cost of medical procedures, the cost of simple teeth cleaning for an adult averages at about $129 in Manhattan. Patients without coverage or who prefer a dentist that is out-of-network can expect to pay $210 for a simple cleaning service.
The cost of getting either a ceramic or porcelain crown instead of metal can run up to $2,000 for patients without insurance or those who go to out-of-network dentists. According to Gretchen Jacobson, associate director with Kaiser Family Foundation’s program on Medicare Policy, people require insurance for more costly fillings, crowns and dentures.
Kaiser mentioned the case of a 72-year old patient who received dental treatment for tooth decay, 3 fillings and 2 dental crowns including periodontal maintenance 6 months later. His total bill was $4,300 without insurance. Even if the patient had coverage through Medicare Advantage, he will still be responsible for $3,300. Deductibles and coinsurance are the out-of-pocket costs that increase dental care expenses.
Retirees must be empowered consumers so that they will get the best benefits from dental care. It is important to have a solid understanding of deductibles, applicable co-payments and coinsurance when getting a retiree health plan or an add-on to the Medicare Advantage plan.
Retirees must save for emergencies like an implant or a dental crown. If the dentist is recommending a highly expensive dental work, get a second opinion. Make sure that the dentist takes the coverage because insurance won’t help if the dentist is out-of-network.
During the dental appointment, the dentist will examine the teeth then explain the dental crown cost so you can prepare for the expense. The dental crown will be custom-made based on an impression of the tooth to match the color and appearance of natural teeth.