Upon reaching age 65 and enrolling in Medicare, many beneficiaries are surprised to learn that the program doesn’t automatically cover dental and vision care services. After all, your eyes and teeth are important! But just because Medicare doesn’t automatically offer coverage for this type of care, that does not mean you can’t receive the services you need. Here’s what you need to know.

Original Medicare (Parts A and B) do not offer coverage for dental and vision care. When you visit a dentist or an optometrist, you will have to self-pay for those services unless you’ve arranged for supplemental insurance. A Medigap policy, for example, seeks to limit your out of pocket spending on medical services, and many Medigap plans do offer coverage for dental and vision care.

Another option is to explore the Medicare Advantage plans available in your area. Advantage plans are offered through private insurance companies who contract with Medicare to create healthcare plans subject to certain standards. And while these standards don’t include coverage for dental and vision care, many Medicare Advantage plans now include those services in order to remain competitive on the market.

Medicare Advantage plans are arranged around a network of providers, so that’s another thing to consider. You should make sure that the plan you choose will include your preferred providers; otherwise they won’t be covered.

Many Medicare Advantage plans also roll Part D coverage into their offerings, so that you can obtain prescription drugs at a more affordable price. Some people choose Advantage plans because it feels more convenient to have all of their medical care included in one easy-to-manage plan.

And of course, your final option is to self pay for these services. But because we tend to develop more issues with our eyes and teeth as we get older, this can end up being an expensive choice.

For more information on both Medigap plans or Medicare Advantage plans, just give us a call and we can walk you through your options. Remember, you can change your Medicare plan each year during Open Enrollment or the Annual Election Period, or during a Special Enrollment Period if you qualify for one.