AARP Dental Insurance for Seniors Explained

Retirement is a well-deserved break after years of hard work. But adjusting to a fixed income can be stressful, especially when unexpected costs arise. Dental care is one such expense that can quickly drain your savings. Fortunately, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) offers dental insurance plans specifically designed for seniors, helping you manage these costs and maintain a healthy smile.

Understanding Your AARP Dental Insurance Options

AARP partners with Delta Dental Insurance Company to provide dental insurance plans for its members. These plans cater to different needs and budgets, offering various coverage levels and networks of dentists. Here’s a breakdown of the two main AARP dental insurance options:

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AARP DeltaCare USA Plan

This affordable plan comes with no waiting period for preventive care and covers a broad network of dentists within specific states. You can easily switch dentists if needed. However, coverage for dental emergencies after business hours is limited to $100, and it’s not available in all states.

AARP PPO Plans

These plans offer more flexibility in choosing a dentist. There are two PPO options: Plan A and Plan B.

  • Plan A: This plan costs around $70 per month for an individual and provides complete coverage for preventive care like cleanings, exams, and X-rays. It also covers 80% of basic treatments (fillings, root canals) and 50% of major services (crowns, dentures, implants). There’s no waiting period for preventive or basic care, but major services require a one-year waiting period. Plan A has a $40 deductible and a yearly maximum coverage limit of $1,500.
  • Plan B: This more economical option costs around $50.58 per month for one person. It provides 80% coverage for preventive and basic care and 50% for major services. Plan B has a higher deductible of $90 and a lower annual coverage limit of $1,000. Both PPO plans come with a one-year waiting period for restorative care like bridges, implants, and crowns.

Benefits of AARP Dental Insurance for Seniors

Here’s how AARP dental insurance can benefit you as a senior:

  • Reduced Costs: Preventive care, like cleanings and exams, is typically free under these plans. This helps prevent small problems from turning into expensive procedures later. For covered services, the plan pays a portion of the cost, significantly reducing your out-of-pocket expenses.
  • No Waiting for Essential Care: You won’t have to wait to receive coverage for preventive and basic dental care under most AARP plans. This ensures you can access the care you need without delay.
  • Wide Range of Services Covered: AARP plans cover a variety of dental services, from routine cleanings to major procedures like crowns and bridges. While the extent of coverage may vary between plans, you can expect at least 50% coverage for most treatments, helping you manage treatment costs.
  • Large Network of Dentists: AARP plans allow you to choose from a vast network of experienced dentists and dental clinics. You also have the flexibility to switch dentists if you’re not satisfied or require specialized care.
  • Coverage for Tooth Extraction: Seniors often require tooth extractions. AARP plans typically offer coverage for up to 50% of the cost of these procedures.

Important Things to Consider

Before enrolling in an AARP dental plan, keep these points in mind:

  • Membership Requirement: At least one member of your family must be an active AARP member to qualify for family plans. These plans extend coverage to spouses, domestic partners, and dependent children under 26, including unmarried grandchildren, adopted children, and stepchildren.
  • Read the Fine Print: Carefully review the plan details outlined in the certificate of coverage, plan brochure, and the limitations and exclusions document. This information will give you a comprehensive understanding of what each plan covers.
  • Orthodontics Coverage: Only the DeltaCare USA plan covers orthodontic treatment, and it requires a flat fee payment of $2,100 per adult. PPO plans do not cover orthodontics.
  • Complementary to Medicare: Medicare generally does not cover dental care costs. Some plans might offer partial reimbursement, but it’s usually limited. AARP offers additional discounts and benefits for dental care that supplement your Medicare coverage.
  • Reimbursement Timing: For certain procedures, you might receive reimbursement months after receiving the service. For example, AARP plans offer 50% coverage for veneers, but you’ll only be reimbursed after six months of continuous coverage.
  • Check Plan Details Online: The AARP Delta Dental shopping website provides detailed information on each plan’s benefits and coverage details. It’s crucial to browse this information carefully before applying for a claim to ensure you fully understand what the plan covers.

Additional Considerations

Here are some extra factors to ponder as you choose your AARP dental plan:

Your Dental Needs: Consider your current and anticipated dental needs. If you require regular checkups and cleanings, a plan with free preventive care is ideal. If you anticipate needing major procedures, opting for a plan with higher coverage for those services might be wiser.

Budget: Dental insurance plans come with monthly premiums. Evaluate your budget and choose a plan that provides adequate coverage without straining your finances.

Network Availability: Check if your preferred dentist participates in the AARP network you’re considering. While most plans offer a broad network, it’s always good to confirm your dentist’s participation beforehand.

Customer Service: Inquire about the plan’s customer service options in case you have questions or need assistance with claims processing.

Enrolling in AARP Dental Insurance

Once you’ve chosen the AARP dental plan that best suits your needs, enrolling is straightforward. You can typically enroll online, by phone, or by mail. Here’s what you’ll generally need to provide during enrollment:

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  • Your AARP membership information (if applicable)
  • Basic personal information (name, address, date of birth)
  • Social Security number
  • Preferred dentist information (if applicable)

Conclusion

Dental care is an essential part of overall health, and maintaining good oral hygiene becomes even more crucial as we age. AARP dental insurance offers a valuable solution for seniors by providing access to affordable dental care and helping manage costs. By carefully considering your needs and reviewing the available plans, you can choose the AARP dental insurance option that best helps you maintain a healthy smile throughout your retirement years.

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