What if I Get Dental, Vision, and Hearing Coverage Through Separate Insurance?
The first choice you have is going through a separate insurance plan. You can get dental, vision, and hearing insurance separately, but there are some things to consider. For one, you’ll need to make premium and deductible payments before your coverage will even begin. This can take anywhere from two to three years. After that, you’ll need to pay a certain amount out-of-pocket, and then from there, your plan may have a coverage maximum.
In the end, this can be impractical, as you may end up losing more money than you’re saving.
How Might Medicare Advantage Help?
Medicare Advantage is the one way you can get Medicare and get dental, vision, and hearing coverage at the same time. It’s actually required to offer benefits beyond what you can get with Original Medicare.
You still need to get Medicare Part A and B first in order to get this. You can either get it during your Initial Enrollment Period (lasts from three months before you turn 65 to three months after your 65th birthday) or you can drop your Original Medicare plan and switch to Medicare Advantage during the Annual Election Period (October 15 to December 7).
Once you sign up, your coverage will begin:
• One month after signing up (if you joined the month before you turned 65)
• Two months after signing up (if you joined the month after you turned 65)
• Three months after signing up (if you joined 2-3 months after turning 65)
• January 1 of the following year (if you joined during the Annual Election Period)
Plans vary in how much they’ll cover, since Medicare Advantage is only offered through private insurance. Medicare Advantage plans include Health Maintenance Organization plans (which provide low-cost coverage within a small provider network), Preferred Provider Organization Plans (give higher discounts for specific healthcare providers), Private Fee-for-Service (where costs are determined ahead of time), and Special Needs Plans (awards higher discounts to those who are eligible for Medicaid and Medicare, and/or those who have chronic and disabling conditions).
Aside from the costs you’ll pay for these services, you may also pay a Medicare Advantage premium (though some plans are premium-free). You’ll also have to pay Part A and Part B costs in addition to this.
But the end result outweighs any extra costs, as these do not require waiting for two to three years. You won’t have to deal with out-of-pocket maximums.