For many seniors, retirement plans might include some time on golf course, travel, some quality time with children and grandchildren. A trip to the dentist ranks far down the list until it’s time to actually go. Then seniors, without the benefit of a company dental plan, are left wondering what they have for options.
“Medicare doesn’t include dental coverage and about half of all Medicare Advantage plans do but they are limited in regard to the benefits they cover,” said Dr. Richard Wolfert, whose practice,The Toothboss, is located in South Weymouth, Massachusetts.
That’s something many new retirees discover after the fact. According to Beth Truett, chief executive officer of OralHealth America, a nonprofit advocacy group, more than half of adults ages 50 to 64 told researchers they didn’t realize that dental care isn’t included in Medicare.
While lack of knowledge may be part of the issue, another is lack of awareness of the importance of how oral health affects overall health. And how many physical issues start with poor oral health.
“You may think, ‘Well, I’ve always brushed my teeth since I was a kid,’” and you’ll only need annual cleanings, says Evelyn Ireland, executive director of the National Association of Dental Plans, which represents the dental benefits industry. “But as we get older, over 70% of adults over 65 have some level of periodontal disease. Your gums start receding and other problems develop.” So, the level of dental care that you need can increase as you age, she says.
Many retirees will seek alternative plans, but it could mean leaving a dental care provider they have used for years. Dr. Wolfert saw that possibility and developed an in-house dental plan membership for patients without coverage for whatever reason—e.g. retirement, between jobs, out of work, etc.
For a nominal fee, The Toothboss Benefit Plan offers participating patients a discounted rate off all available dental services with The Toothboss. The annual fee covers: a comprehensive Exam with FMX (once every 5 years); two periodic (routine) exams (once every six months); X-rays (4 Bitewings – once every eighteen months); two cleanings(prophylaxis – once every six months, twice per calendar year); one periodontal exam (once per year); one oral cancer screening exam (once per year); and two fluoride treatments for children (under the age of 19 – once every six months).
“If plan members need services beyond that, we offer a 20 percent reduction off our usual fee,” said Dr.Wolfert. “This way retirees and those without coverage can get the care they need at a fixed rate without co-pays or deductibles.”
The cost of The Toothboss Benefit Program is $300 per individual/adult and $250 per child. The Toothboss Benefit Program is available to both Toothboss patients and the general public.
For more information, please call 781-335-0604. The Toothboss Benefit Plan is NOT an insurance program, and Richard E. Wolfert, DMD is not a licensed insurer, preferred provider organization, or other underwriter of health services. The discounts offered are valid only in this office and for services, not products. Exclusions and limitations do apply.