If your boss provided dental coverage as part of your benefit package, you may not have appreciate the savings you were receiving. Group dental coverage is often very cheap, but its comprehensive set of benefits still covers everything from bridges and crowns to cavities and fillings.
When you retire, you will quickly see just how expensive dental care can be. Fortunately, retirees do have some options to tame the high cost of dental care. Here are some of the best choices.
Private dental insurance works just like the insurance plan you were used to. The only difference, and it is a significant one, is that you will have to pay the full cost.
You can save some money by shopping around and comparing coverage levels. If you are willing to settle for a less comprehensive plan, you can find one with lower premiums. If you anticipate high dental costs in the coming year, a more comprehensive plan is probably the best choice, even if the premiums are a bit higher.
The Affordable Care Act
The future of the Affordable Care Act may be in doubt, but for now it remains a viable option for paying dental care expenses. When you sign up for a health plan on the exchange, you also have the option to choose dental coverage.
Prices vary on the exchanges, and some plans are more comprehensive than others, but if you need help paying for dental care, the ACA can be a good choice.
Discount Cards and Programs
If you are not eligible for traditional dental insurance, or cannot afford to buy it, a discount card or similar program can be a good alternative. Discount cards are not insurance, but they do provide lower negotiated fees for everything from filling cavities to making and fitting dentures.
Before you choose a discount card, you should make sure your current dental provider will accept it. Not all dental offices participate in all plans, so ask your dentist and shop accordingly.
Health Savings Accounts
If you are eligible for a health savings account (HSA), you can use the funds it contains to pay for eligible dental care. In order to contribute to a health savings account, you must have a high-deductible health plan, and there are limits on how much you can set aside. Even so, the contribution limits are generous at more than $3,000, and that should be enough to cover just about any dental procedure.
There are also tax benefits to opening a health savings account, so you may be able to reduce your tax bill while taking care of your teeth. Talk to your accountant or tax preparer to see if you qualify for a health savings account and if contributing to one could save you money.
Paying for dental care after retirement can be a real struggle. Without the low costs and comprehensive coverage of a group plan, paying for even basic dental care can be tough. Even so, understanding your options and shopping around can help you get the care you need for a price you can afford.
At Royal Lakes Dental (royallakesdental.com) we understand the high cost of dental care, and we never want price to stand between you and the quality care you need. Whether you need routine dental care like an annual exam and a few fillings or extensive work like extractions and implants, our financial professionals can work with you to find a payment plan you can afford.