The state of your eyes and mouth are highly crucial to your body’s health. Vision and dental insurance are frequently left out of traditional health insurance plans, so you must choose to add them yourself.
Traditional health insurance plans usually address emergencies and hospital stays for everything from a skin infection to cancer. Issues such as gum disease or weakening eyesight, even when they have potentially serious consequences, are left up to dental and vision insurance to cover. Unfortunately, these types of insurance are sometimes considered optional.
Supplementing Your health Insurance
As we get older, it’s easier to fixate on the issues which are perceived to be more significant: Am I eating a healthful, heart-friendly diet? Am I getting the right amount of daily exercise? Am I showing early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia? These are big health questions, indeed, and need to be considered; however, sometimes we miss the forest for the trees.
Regular visits to a doctor to keep tabs on your overall condition are vital to making sure you age well and remain in good health for as long as possible. It is also important, though, for you to keep up regular visits to your dentist and eye doctor. If you don’t keep your dental and vision health in view, you might find yourself dealing with an expensive and health-impacting oversight in your general health and well-being.
Your eyes help give a window into overall health. Eye doctors can sometimes see evidence of other general health issues just by looking at your eyes. Your regular eye checkups aren’t just to adjust your eyeglass prescription (though they should, of course, include this vital function, as well). For example, early diagnosis of eye issues such as glaucoma or macular degeneration can help prevent vision loss down the line. Many vision problems are avoidable or even curable these days, especially if they’re caught early enough. Other more general body ailments, such as diabetes, carotid artery blockages, hypertension, and high cholesterol are frequently first identified through an eye exam. Maybe you can now see the importance of regular eye exams!
So, why is vision insurance vital as you age?
When you get older, you may become more prone to chronic eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts or macular degeneration. If you don’t have vision insurance, any of these ailments could prove to be quite expensive to treat. In most cases, you can choose to enroll in a vision health benefits package, depending on your needs and finances. There are many options out there, and it’s best to select a plan well before you run into severe vision or eye issues. You should contact a health insurance professional to get more information. Keep in mind that like most insurance plans, only particular eye doctors may be covered under your chosen plan. Read the fine print and make sure the doctor you want to see is covered by the plan on which you’re deciding!
Just having vision insurance also makes it more likely you’ll schedule routine eye exams.
Just like traditional health coverage, vision insurance can help pay for the cost of exams, treatment, prescription medications, surgeries, and so on. The following are a few examples of common exams, equipment, and procedures covered by vision insurance:
Eye exams: Usually performed annually, this series of tests gauge the health of your eyes by examining for vision sharpness, potential color blindness, how your eyes work together, glaucoma, peripheral vision, and more. Eye exams can also serve as an early warning of eye disease, any developing vision issues, or a need for corrective lenses.
Eyewear: Glasses and contact lenses can be pricey but are usually at least partially covered by most types of vision insurance, though some plans may limit your coverage to glasses or contacts bought through your optometrist or a network-accepted vision center. Sometimes, even prescription sunglasses may be covered. Lens coatings and enhancements may also be covered by vision insurance, depending on the plan and the perceived need for the coating or enhancement.
Surgical procedures. Eye surgeries that are considered to be medically essential, such as a surgery to treat eye trauma, infection, or disease, will often be covered. However, corrective surgery such as LASIK is usually not covered by most vision insurance plans, as it is considered cosmetic and not strictly medically necessary. However, some vision insurance plans may partially cover elective procedures such as these. Check with the insurance provider.
Like the rest of your skeletal system, your teeth become more prone to damage and decay with age. However, it’s not just your teeth that need preventative care. Your gums and other soft tissue in your mouth are susceptible to disease, as well. As you get older, you must be watchful about your oral cleanliness habits as a portion of your focus on your overall health. Our mouths are the gateway for the nourishment that keeps our bodies alive. Your teeth aren’t just there to make your smile look nice.
Why is dental insurance important?
Dental and oral care can get expensive quickly. Preventative checkups and dental care may appear like a minor expense that you can put off until you see signs of decay or feel tooth pain. However, if you neglect your mouth, then you may need to resort to oral surgery to fix your dental issues. This is a costly and daunting process that usually requires a waiting period for the operation after you’ve bought an insurance plan. Even if your dental health has always been excellent overall, osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, stroke or respiratory disease can have a deleterious effect on your dental health as you get older.
Dental insurance is usually arranged “100-80-50,” which means that the insurance company pays for 100% of preventive care, 80% of necessary procedures, and 50% of advanced procedures, such as bridges or crowns.
Generally speaking, the more advanced the procedure, the less coverage you might expect to receive from your dental insurance plan.
Common dental services, ranging from basic to advanced, may include:
Preventive care: Routine dental exams and cleanings usually are performed twice a year and are covered 100% by most dental insurance policies.
Restorative care: This is made up of minor procedures to treat damaged or decayed teeth, such as fillings. More advanced damage or decay will require more involved procedures like root canals, which falls in the area of endodontics.
Oral surgery: This may include teeth removal, infection drainage, and gum tissue biopsies.
Orthodontics: Orthodontics may include the installation, maintenance, and removal of braces and retainers, and may be covered on your dental plan. However, this area usually requires the services of a dedicated orthodontist, which may or may not be employed by your dental practice.
Periodontics: Periodontics includes gum disease treatment, infections, and injuries.
Prosthodontics: Prosthodontics provides for fittings and installations of dentures and bridges; the most advanced area of dental care. These can be expensive, which is why an excellent dental plan is vital.
The Cost of Not Having Dental Insurance
Many people don’t like going to the dentist, possibly because it’s uniquely painful, or because they don’t like how much it costs, and they don’t see it as strictly necessary. However, consider that your mouth is merely another part of your body, and what affects your mouth may have a damaging effect on the rest of your body (and vice versa). If you have traditional health insurance, you should consider adding dental coverage, as well, especially as you get older. While the added cost may initially feel like much trouble for little gain, it far outweighs having to pay the exorbitant price of dental care services without any insurance at all!