Government Programs that May Help Pay for Dentures
The United States government recognizes that healthcare costs are sky high across the board.
Medicare and Medicaid are the two major federal health programs that help individuals cope with these costs. Will either one help you save on new dentures?
Per their website:
“Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD).”
But Medicare does not cover dentures. In fact, it stays away from most dental services altogether.
It may cover hospital costs or inpatient health care if you have a dental emergency or a complicated procedure, even though the dental care wouldn’t be covered. It may also pay for some dental services if you are hospitalized.
In the end, Medicare—by itself—is not the place you’re going to find help getting false teeths.
However, you may be able to find certain Medicare Advantage or “Medigap” (Medicare Supplement) add-on plans that offer dental coverage at additional costs.
You’ll need to do your own research to find what might be offered by companies in your area.
Medicaid and Medicare differ in a few major ways.
The main things that matter here are who is eligible and the types of coverage offered.
Medicaid eligibility is based mostly on income, whereas Medicare is a program geared towards seniors. You can also qualify for care based on age, pregnancy, disability, and other factors.
Also, the scope of care is quite a bit wider than Medicare. This makes sense given the expanded demographic. Moreover, Medicaid is a joint program between the states and the federal government. Thus, there are mandatory programs as well as optional ones.
Dentures fall into the “optional” category.
As of 2012, 39 of the 56 “states” where Medicaid is active offered some form of denture benefits. (In addition to the continental 50 and D.C., Medicaid is active in American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.)
There is also great variance in what is offered through Medicaid in each state. In any case, you’ll need to do your own research. Generally, application is the fastest way to find the answers you need.
Additionally, some are eligible for coverage through a CHIP (Children’s Health Coverage Program) plan, which may or may not be administered through Medicaid.
If you need help with any of your questions just call the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) at 1-800-MEDICARE. They can provide detailed information about each of these programs and refer you to state programs where applicable.
Depending on your circumstances, none of these may be option.
Luckily, there are more ways to get help affording false teeth.
Dental schools are some of the best providers of affordable dental care.
Being a test dummy for the undergraduates will get you the biggest discount but many of these schools also host postgraduate and staff clinics.
Finding a dental school that offers low-cost dentures may be a bit difficult. It really just depends on what is offered by schools in your area.
However, finding a dental school that will provide discounts on some of the associate costs (like tooth extractions) should be fairly easy.
Tooth Extraction Overseas
Dental costs are extremely low in some foreign countries.
“Dental tourism” is a real thing, and probably a good thing. Eventually, the trend may push prices down domestically. According to MEDIGO, dentures prices are unbelievably low in multiple countries.
Obviously, you’ll need to do your due diligence when it comes to the quality of care you will receive. But lower prices does not automatically mean cheap dentures and incompetent technicians. At the very least, do some research regarding associated procedures like extractions.
You still need to factor in travel costs but the proper planning can reduce costs there as well.
If it sounds like too much of a risk, there are still places closer to home worth looking.
Other Organizations that Might Help
There are always more places to look, more research that could be done.
Some additional places you may be able to find help:
You may also find help (whether directly or just a point in the right direction) from charitable organizations such as:
Lastly, you can contact your local and state health departments to find out what is offered near you. You can also check out this directory of State Oral Health Programs from the ASTDD.
We didn’t say it would be easy, we just said we would save you money on dentures.
Final Tips to Save Money on Dentures
Now, we get close to the end. But don’t underestimate the power of these last few tactics.
It’s time you take all that research you’ve accumulated and put it to use.
Learn the industry in your area
Location makes a huge difference when it comes to dental services. When searching for the right dentist to create your new set of dentures, be sure to widen your search radius to at least an hour away. Try to find areas where multiple dentists compete for business from blue collar families.
Find the “newbie”
New, local dentists near you may offer reduced cost dental care, dentures included. You won’t know whether you’ll be so lucky until you do some digging. But when you find a new practice (or one that doesn’t get much business due to location or marketing), their desperation could be your ticket to low cost dentures.
Offer to pay cash
Nothing makes a dental professional happy like cash. It reduces fees that they have to pay to accept insurance or credit cards. This and the flexibility of cash make it a great negotiation tool. Being able to pay cash, especially on expensive procedures, can really help you secure a discount. Just use with tact.
Bundle or break it up?
You may be able to save money on the total cost of dentures by having some or all of the associated procedures performed separately. Or, you may be better off finding a dentist who will offer discounts or remove fees when you go through them for everything that you need.
Take all of the research you’ve done and make sure the dentists you talk to know that you know your options. Most dental work yields high margins and a high hourly rate. When clients are on the line, dentists are often more than willing to adjust their pricing. Shop around with conviction, and you’ll be rewarded.
We might be in the 21st century, but people skills can still take you a long way. In this case, they can help you find better dentures for less.
Hopefully, you’ve got the answers you were looking for concerning how much new dentures might cost you.
And maybe more importantly, we hope you’ve found some valuable information that helps you save afford your new teeth more easily. You can find more information about various dental procedures on our homepage.
If you have any questions, please leave them below and we will do our best to provide clarification or further assistance.