Does Medicare Cover Dental Implants?
Dental implants are becoming the most popular tooth replacement treatment preferred by adults in the United States. This is because patients with dental implants won’t stop talking about the improved stability, security, and durability dental implants offer over other tooth replacement treatments. Implant treatment requires a financial investment upfront, but this is also an investment in long-term health and quality of life. If you have Medicare and are interested in replacing your missing teeth, you may want to start by researching if your plan will cover dental implant treatment. Here is more information on dental implant treatment and the estimated treatment costs.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are metal or ceramic posts that are surgically installed in the jawbone. This implant is designed to “permanently” replace a missing tooth by acting like the root of a new artificial tooth. Once placed, the implant will fuse with the bone in a process called osseointegration. This process is critical to the long-term success of the implant. After the implant is secure in the bone, an artificial tooth, called a crown, can be attached on top and the treatment is complete. The entire implant treatment plan involves a few simple procedures and can take several months up to one year to complete.
Estimated Cost of Dental Implant Treatment
The cost of dental implant treatment can vary, depending on several factors, including geographic location, the expertise of the dentist, and the implant system selected. Of these, the implant system will have the largest influence on the total cost of the treatment. There are many different brands, including several well-known, well-tested, and well-respected brands that produce dental implant systems. These well-known brands have evidence and research to support their success, but you can also expect implant systems from these brands to cost more. Implant systems made by local dental labs may be more affordable, but there is likely less evidence to support their success. When developing a treatment plan, a dentist should discuss with their patient the types and brands of implant systems available, and the estimated cost of each option. On average, each dental implant will cost between $1,500-$6,000. This estimate includes the cost of the implant surgery, implant system, and all additional hardware or procedures that are needed throughout the process.
Will My Medicare Plan Cover My Dental Implant Treatment?
If you have Medicare coverage, you may not be sure if your plan will cover the cost of dental implant treatment. The short answer is that it really depends on which Medicare plan you have. Medicare Part A and Part B do not cover the costs of most dental treatments or routine dental care. Medicare Part C (also known as Medicare Advantage) is a bit different in that it allows for individuals to get Medicare coverage through a private, approved health insurance company. Medicare Advantage plans include most of the benefits of the Medicare Part A and Part B, but also include additional coverage, which usually involves some dental coverage including routine dental services, dental treatments, and prescription drug coverage.
What about in-hospital dental treatments? While Medicare Part A does cover all care in the hospital setting, it is unusual for dental implant procedures to be performed in the hospital. In some rare cases, it may be possible to get implants in a hospital, but it is important to know that even if a dental implant procedure is performed in a hospital it does not mean that Medicare Part A will cover the costs. Prior to committing to this approach, it would be best to check with hospital billing to see if this plan is possible for you.
How to Cover the Costs of Dental Implant Treatment if You Have Medicare
If you are interested in dental implant treatment but are not sure what to do because you have Medicare Part A or Part B, you should know the treatment is still available for you. There are some alternative payment options you can consider instead of covering the treatment with Medicare, including:
- Medicare Advantage Plans: The first thing you could explore is transitioning to a Medicare Advantage plan. This option should be available in addition to your traditional Medicare coverage, and may cover some dental treatments. You should have a discussion with a Medicare professional before you switch and ask if the plan includes coverage of dental implant treatment and other dental services. If you add a Medicare Advantage plan you will continue paying the usual monthly premium, along with the Medicare Advantage plan premium.
- Private Dental Insurance Plans: Another option to consider is adding dental insurance from a private insurance company in addition to your Medicare plan. However, some private insurance plans do not cover dental implant treatment, so it is important to confirm the plan will cover the treatments you are interested in before committing to adding the plan.
- Dental Discount Plans. Dental discount plans are another option to consider to help cover the costs of implant treatment. You can explore this option by having a conversation with your dental provider to see if there are any discount plans available to you. A discount plan could cover up to 50% of the total costs of the implant treatment.
If you are interested in dental implant treatment, but are concerned about the potential treatment costs, you should know there are many payment options available. If you have Medicare Part A or Part B, it is likely that your current Medicare plan will not cover the costs of dental implant treatment. If you are interested in dental implant treatment, you should start by doing a little research about your current Medicare plan and the alternative payment options that may be available to you. Once you are familiar with your options, you can have a discussion with your dentist to get an idea of the estimated costs of an implant treatment and any payment options they may offer. There are many options available to you to help cover the costs of dental implant treatment.