Q: I'm turning 65 later this year and my dentist tells me that I will need dentures. Does Medicare cover dental services?
A: Medicare does not cover routine dental care that you normally receive for the health of your teeth. According to Medicare Interactive, a resource for answers to your Medicare questions maintained by the Medicare Rights Center, Medicare will not cover routine checkups, cleanings or fillings. In particular Medicare will not pay for dentures. Even if you have to have teeth extracted as preparation for a medical procedure, you are responsible for the cost of your dentures. (Some dental services are covered if required to protect your general health or for another health service that Medicare covers to be successful.)
If you currently have dental insurance, you may want to check with your plan to see what dental services are covered. If you do have some coverage now, consider getting necessary dental work before you start Medicare. You may also want to shop for Medicare Advantage health plan that covers routine dental services, but carefully first compare other costs and coverage for your specific health conditions and prescription needs.
Resource: Medicare Interactive, Medicare Rights Center, 2013, www.medicarerights.org.
Q: Almost all of my income is from Social Security. I have some limited savings, and I own my home. I'm having trouble affording my Medicare premiums and out-of-pocket costs, but I don’t think I qualify for Medicaid. Are there any programs that may help?
A: Even though you have some savings contact your State Medical Assistance (Medicaid) office and ask about "Medicare Savings Programs." There are four programs that can help pay for Medicare Part B premiums, and if you qualify— deductibles and co-insurance as well. To get the phone number for your state visit www.medicare.gov/ or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) and say "Medicaid" when prompted.
Resource: "Medicare & You 2013" handbook.