Often when we think of dental care, the first word that comes to mind is: expensive! Dental care is so important for everyone, but that is especially true for seniors. It can be frustrating that basic dental services that we all need are not naturally covered under most insurance plans. If you were to pay for those services out of pocket, the cost would be enormous. Affordable dental care for senior citizens is a priority; no one should go without the proper healthcare that they need to survive and thrive.
Getting low-cost dental care for seniors does not need to be a giant hurdle to overcome. More and more organizations are now realizing the need for reliable, convenient, and affordable dental care for senior citizens, and they are doing something about it.
If you are lucky enough to have a dentist you know and trust, consider talking to your dentist about what options are available to you in your community for affordable elderly dental care. There is no one-size-fits-all model, unfortunately, but there could be solutions available to you of which you are not aware.
Accessing Affordable Dental Care for Senior Citizens Living Below the Poverty Line
- Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there are some dental plans available for children and adults. These dental plans are provided through private insurance companies, operating on a for-profit, corporate model, so there will be some cost to you as the subscriber. However, the ACA aims to ensure that there is affordable dental care for senior citizens and others who may otherwise be priced out of the private insurance market.
- Federally qualified and community dental centers may be available as a way for you to access low-cost dental care as a senior. These centers use a sliding scale fee schedule, which provides reduced costs to those who have lower incomes. The fees vary and eligibility can be different from one center to another, but the general principle is that people living below the poverty line can receive dental care at a discounted rate. These dental centers are important for communities across the country, but unfortunately, their funding is such that middle-income people seeking affordable health care may not receive significant discounts due to lack of funding for the centers and an overall lack of funding for community health care programs.
Seniors who are on a fixed budget, but not living below the poverty line, may not qualify for discounted dental services. However, they are still in need of affordable dental care. For senior citizens, oral hygiene is an important part of taking care of their overall health and reducing medical costs by minimizing major problems and focusing on prevention.
Getting Low-Cost Dental Care for Seniors Living Above the Poverty Line
- Going to dental school clinics can be another great way of getting low-cost dental care for seniors. Chances are there are dental schools in your area with students who are eager to get their clinical hours in and gain hands-on experience with patients. Dental school clinics offer low rates, and in many cases, they only charge enough to cover the costs of their materials and equipment.
- Affordable dental care for senior citizens has become a mission for many charitable organizations as they recognize the gap in what is available and what is needed. A charitable organization, like a church network, can be a good place to find out what support is available in getting low-cost dental care for seniors.
- Other non-profits in your area may provide free or low-cost dental care, particularly if you are someone who is at risk for serious medical conditions. There may also be programs available to seniors who are veterans of the military. Veterans should speak with a veteran services organization to find out what services or programs they are eligible for. Additionally, your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) is a wonderful resource for senior citizens to contact to find out more about getting low-cost dental care in their respective areas.
- There are also programs of Medicaid that work to provide affordable coverage for dental care. One such program, known as the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), offers help to adults over the age of 55 and to residents of nursing homes. PACE aims to meet the complex health care needs of the aging population.
Dental care can be extremely expensive, especially for retired seniors living on fixed incomes. The importance of receiving proper, routine dental care for seniors is truly paramount to overall health and wellbeing and can not be ignored. Letting the high cost of dental care get in the way of your oral hygiene can lead to bigger problems and major medical issues.
It’s important that you work with your doctor, dentist, and other health and human service professionals to come up with a viable and affordable plan to receive dental care. There are low-price options available to you if you know where to look. The Cano Health team is here to work with you to find viable solutions for your needs and budget. Contact us today.