by Nick Taylor
I’ve had some dental issues recently, and it’s made me wonder why it’s so hard to find decent and affordable dental insurance.
Not long ago, I moved from my wife’s union insurance plan to a Medicare supplement plan. It’s more expensive, but it includes no dental coverage whatsoever. The union plan at least included an annual checkup — preventive care but nothing if something actually went wrong.
It seems at first glance that most dental plans only cover routine maintenance. And it’s true that regular dental checkups, like regular physical exams, are the best way to catch problems before they get more serious.
Insurers should want to cover preventive care to save the costs of drastic treatment, but when it comes to dental care most coverage gives you squat.
And it’s a fact that when you reach Medicare eligibility, things are more likely to go wrong with your teeth and gums just like the rest of your aging body. Those silver fillings you got when you were a kid are wearing out, and that’s just the start of it.
In the movie “Peggy Sue Got Married,” in a moment of reflection Peggy Sue asks her father what he would change about his life. “Well,” he said, “I might have taken a little better care of my teeth.” That’s where we all are at this stage.
The people who are barking about Medicare costs will say it would be too expensive to cover dental procedures like extractions, implants and crowns. They’ll argue that dental health is not the same as cancer, heart disease or diabetes. They’ll say that a good smile is an option, not a necessity.
All that may be true, but good teeth and a good smile are also part of healthy, vital lives as time goes on, and there should be some affordable insurance that makes this possible.