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Getting Free Or Affordable Dental Care in 2021 – Where To Look And How To Apply

Free dental insurance is available to those that qualify to go through the Medicaid system. In this article, we will discuss not only Medicaid but also the various other programs available for senior dental care.

First, we will talk about Medicaid. Those who qualify will need to fill out an application. Your local Medicaid office can help you with this. There is generally no cost or co-pays with Medicaid. However, your options for choosing a dentist are narrow. Often, Medicaid patients will need to visit a dental clinic to make use of the Medicaid insurance.

How Are Policies Managed?

Any policy that is offered through the state is managed by the county, and they will offer a number of dental coverage options to patients. The patients must ensure they have asked about which offices accept their plan, and they may choose a provider who will care for them.

How Are Payments Made?

Payments are made through the state after claims are filed by the dental office. The office will ensure the patients do not send in their own claims, and they will help the patients when they have concerns about how their claims have been fulfilled. Each claim is quite different, and someone who is unsure of the status of their claims may call the state for assistance.

Why Is Dental Coverage Free Through The State?

Tax dollars pay for the system. Once determined eligible, each person who needs coverage will receive it. For example, there are many who are simply not in a position to purchase coverage. These individuals can go to the state for assistance. After qualifying, they will enroll in the Medicaid dental system. Finally, they will be assigned to a provider who will ensure the coverage is honored.If desired, you can choose your own provider as long as they are on the list of approved Medicaid dentists  Keep in mind that some services may have an extra cost attached. Ask your dental provider ahead of time what any additional payments are and when they need to be paid.

How Long Does A Claim Take To Process?

Claims may take some time to clear, but the patient is not denied care while claims go through the system. Questions or concerns about your claims can be directed to customer service. Subsequently, each dentist will bill the state for all services.

Other Dental Programs for Seniors

In addition to Medicaid, there are a number of programs designed for low income seniors to assist them in obtaining dental care. Listed below are a number of options that you may wish to consider.

The National Association of Free Clinics

The National Association of Free Clinics is a good place to start. Doctors and dentists throughout the country have offered their time and talents to provide dental care for many including seniors. Even dentures may be provided. In order to receive these services, there are certain financial guidelines that need to be met. This program is definitely worth looking into.

Dentist Care Foundation of Mercy

This great foundation is another awesome option. It is actually a group of dentists who travel with their staff to various locations throughout the country. Their purpose is to provide dental care to the uninsured. However, this program is so popular that a long wait may be in store for you. Care is provided for those who arrive the earliest. Lines form quickly.

Office of the Aging

Contacting your local Office of the Aging is another good place to get assistance. No doubt, they will point you in the direction of local programs that offer free or low cost dental care. In addition, the local Lions Club chapter may know of dentists in your area that do dental care for needy individuals at no charge. Also, the Lions may know of additional state programs to refer you to.

Tooth Wisdom

Tooth Wisdom is yet another option to help seniors find affordable dental care. Their website is simple and easy to use so you can easily find dental offices near you. Just type your zip code into the search bar on their website and dental clinics and offices near you will appear. Depending on where you live, you may have one, several or many to choose from.

The PACE Program

PACE is the acronym for Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly.  You can find out about the PACE program through both Medicare and Medicaid. As usual, you will need to fulfill eligibility requirements to take advantage of this program. These include being at least 55 years old and also being eligible for care in a nursing home. In addition, of course, these services must be offered in the area you reside. Check with your Medicare or Medicaid office to learn if you qualify.

Dental Life Network

If you or a loved one is disabled, elderly or considered to “at risk” medically, the Dental Life Network may work for you. In this program, you will find approximately 17,000 dentists who volunteer their services. Additionally, over 3,700 labs offer their services. All free of charge. Give them a call at 303-534-5360 to see if you are eligible for their services. You can also visit their website for more information.

Dentistry From the Heart

Dentistry From the Heart is another example of a great volunteer program. Generous dentists and hygienists offer their time and skills to needy patients. Various events are held around the country. However, due to the popularity of this program, their services are limited to cleanings, extractions and fillings. Again, check their website to see if there is an event to be held near you.

Affordable Dental Insurance

There is no denying that dental care can be costly. If you are not income eligible for Medicaid or other programs, finding the best, most affordable dental insurance is your next best option. If you are on Medicare and enrolled in an Advantage plan, you most likely have dental, vision and prescription coverage. However, the dental may cover only the basics such as cleanings, exams and x-rays. It may be well worth it to go ahead and purchase a dental insurance plan.

Choosing Your Coverage

You can choose the coverage you think you will need. Premiums will vary depending on the coverage you choose. You can expect to pay $21-$43 a month for your dental insurance. Most plans will cover the basics mentioned in the previous paragraph. For more complex dental work, you will need to examine the policy to see how much coverage is available. Some of the top insurance companies for dental insurance are listed below.

  • United Health Care Dental Insurance
  • Careington Dental
  • Dental Plan.com
  • Aetna Dental
  • Spirit Dental
  • Denali Dental
  • 1Dental.com
  • Guardian Dental

Before selecting a dental insurance, make sure you know what the limits of the policy are. Also, be aware and realistic as to the cost of dental work verses dental insurance premiums. Make sure there are not any restrictions for pre-existing conditions.

Dental Discount Plans

Some dentists will offer discount plans for their patients. This simply means that they offer discounts to self-pay individuals. If you are a regular patient, they may even offer free cleanings. Check with the front office to see if your dentist participates.