Does Medicare cover dental care?

We talk a lot on our pages about how Original Medicare covers hospital and doctor visits—but if that doctor is a dentist, you may be out of luck.

Know where you’re not covered

Original Medicare doesn't cover most dental care, dental procedures or supplies, like cleanings, fillings, tooth extractions, dentures, dental plates or other dental devices. Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) will pay for certain dental services that you get when you're in a hospital. It may also pay for inpatient hospital care if you need to have emergency or complicated dental procedures, even though the dental care isn't covered.

And if you simply have a toothache that’s driving you crazy, you’ll have to pay out of pocket to see a dentist.

Options for dental coverage

Some Medicare Advantage plans offer extra dental and vision benefits that Original Medicare doesn’t cover. That may help cover the costs for common dental procedures, such as dental exams, teeth cleanings, X-rays, fillings, anesthesia, dentures and crowns. Usually, these types of Medicare Advantage plans will require you to visit an in-network dentist to be covered. These added dental benefits will vary by plan and most likely require deductibles and copays, so be sure to check out the details before you decide.

For an added layer of protection, some Medicare Advantage plans may be paired with a stand-alone dental insurance plan. You'll have to pay a monthly premium and satisfy deductibles and copays, but the cost may be offset by lower out-of-pocket fees. Most of these dental plans require that you see an in-network dentist. Some plans let you go to any dentist (in or out of network), but you may have to pay more for their services.

A dental discount plan may be worth considering if you don’t have dental insurance. These discount plans aren’t dental insurance. They are a type of membership, similar to a warehouse club, but rather than getting bargains on food or clothing, you get discounted prices on dental services.

Humana answers your Medicare questions

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