If you need dental implants, you have probably heard the “good news” that Medicare will now pay for them.
But before you call an oral surgeon and sign up to have those expensive implant procedures performed, here’s some information you need to know if you want to be sure the cost of those expensive implants will be covered.
Do All Plans Pay for Dental Implants?
No, they do not. “original” Medicare, Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance) will not cover dental procedures, and they will not cover implants.
In order to get coverage, you will need to sign up and pay for a Medicare Advantage plan (or find alternative coverage if you have a Medigap plan). In other words, you need to take out insurance that will cover your implants.
Also, don’t assume that any Medicare Advantage Plan you opt for will cover the cost of implants. Ask, read the fine print, and make sure they are covered.
Making sure your Medicare Advantage Plan will cover implants can be complicated. It is even possible that your plan will require additional fees or a “rider” if you want additional coverage for them. So again, your best defense is to ask a lot of questions before you sign up for a plan. What kind of implants are covered, for example? Are there restrictions on the kind of care that is available in different parts of the country? (That might sound crazy, but there are sometimes geographical restrictions.) Are there restrictions on who can install the implants or a list of approved providers?
One good thing is that the cost of anesthesia, even though it could be thought of as an additional medication, will be covered if the implant procedure is.
What Are Dental Implants?
You probably know the basics. But just to review, they are essentially artificial replacement teeth, constructed using surgical techniques:
- A metal post, usually made of titanium, is used to replace the root portion of the tooth that is missing. This post is inserted into your lower or upper jaw, depending on the location of the tooth that is being replaced with an implant.
- An artificial tooth or “cap” is installed on the post. And voilà, you have a new permanent tooth.
This work is done on an outpatient basis. And in general, implants are installed by oral surgeons or implant specialists, not by general dentists.
Depending on the condition of the bone where the implant will be installed, additional procedures may be required. In general, ground bone powder and other substances may be placed in the cavity where the post will be placed. It can then take weeks or months for that material to solidify. So the bottom line is, that the oral surgeon cannot just screw in a post and say you are ready to go. You are looking at a period of healing.
Does Medicare Cover Medications?
Antibiotics and pain medications will generally be covered by the drug benefit that is part of your Medicare Advantage plan, or by Medicare Part D (drug coverage).
Planning to Have Implants? Want to know more?
At CoverRight, we’re here to help you find the right coverage that you deserve. Reach out today and find the best Medicare plan for you.