Kiplinger

Retirees, Create a Plan to Pay for Dental Care

When she needed dental work recently, Terry O'Brien, age 76, didn't worry too much about the cost, at least initially. After all, she was paying $36 a month for an individual dental insurance plan, with up to $1,000 in coverage. But her problems far exceeded that cap. After forking over more than $2,000 out of pocket for a root canal and crown replacement, she decided to look for an alternative to her insurance.

"After the dentist x-rayed my teeth, he said I'd need another root canal and two more crowns," says O'Brien, of Pelham, N.H. "I said, 'Never mind. They're not bothering me, and I don't have the money.' "

O'Brien's dilemma isn't unusual for seniors trying to take care of their teeth. Often, after a lifetime of employer-sponsored dental coverage, some retirees don't realize the costs doesn't include dental coverage. About half of all Medicare Advantage plans do, but the coverage is typically limited to basic cleanings and x-rays and generally includes an annual cap of about $1,500. You'll most likely pay out of pocket for larger procedures such as root canals, says Judith Jones, a professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry and an expert on geriatric dental care.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Kiplinger

Kiplinger4 min read
Commission-Free Trades: A Bad Deal for Investors
Commissions on stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) now come to a big fat zero if you use one of the four biggest online brokerages. On Oct. 1, Charles Schwab (SCHW) announced commission-free trading on stocks, ETFs and options trades. Online-brok
Kiplinger5 min read
The Best Impact Investing Apps
Mobile investing apps are becoming "must haves" these days, and their popularity is expected to increase in the coming years. And that's not the only investing trend that's on the rise. Another is impact investing. Put these two trends together, an
Kiplinger4 min read
How You Can 'TAP' into Home Equity to Help Keep Your Retirement Stable
Retirees face plenty of financial challenges these days, from volatile markets that can upend their security to low interest yields that in some cases don't even allow them to keep up with inflation. But with all the issues that confront them, perha