Does Medicare Provide Dental and Vision Coverage?

Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) only provides dental and vision coverage in limited situations.

However, you may be able to receive dental and vision coverage by enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan that includes dental and vision benefits.

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Do Medicare Advantage plans cover dental and vision?

Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plans provide the same benefits that are covered by Original Medicare. Many Medicare Advantage plans also include coverage for other benefits that Original Medicare doesn't cover.

Some Medicare Advantage plans offer coverage for things such as:

Medicare Advantage plans in your area may offer some of the benefits listed above and more.

Some Medicare Advantage plans require a monthly premium, but some plans in your area may feature $0 premiums. Deductibles and coinsurance requirements will vary by plan.

In 2019, approximately one out of every three Medicare beneficiaries was enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.1

What dental benefits does Original Medicare cover?

Original Medicare covers limited dental care. It does not cover most dental care or supplies, such as:

  • Dental exams
  • Teeth cleanings
  • Fillings
  • Tooth extractions
  • Dentures
  • Dental plates

However, Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) will typically provide some coverage if you receive any dental services in a hospital as an inpatient.

  • For example, Part A may cover the cost of a tooth extraction that is necessary to prepare your jaw for radiation treatment.

  • Or if you are admitted to the hospital with severe injuries to your mouth and emergency care is required, Part A might again provide limited coverage. 

"Part A can pay for inpatient hospital care if you need to have emergency or complicated dental procedures, even though the dental care isn’t covered," according to Medicare.gov.

If you need dental coverage for routine dental care services and supplies, you may want to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that includes that benefit.

Medicare Advantage plan benefits may vary by plan. A Medicare Advantage plan with dental coverage may offer benefits that could include:

  • Routine dental exams
  • Dental X-rays
  • Routine teeth cleanings
  • Fillings
  • Tooth extractions
  • Root canals
  • Gum disease treatment
  • Dentures
  • Dental implants
  • Bridges
  • Crowns

The specific coverage offered by your plan may not include all of the items listed above. Check with your plan carrier to learn more about the terms of your Medicare Advantage plan dental coverage.

Does Medicare cover vision care?

Original Medicare also covers limited vision care. It does not cover routine eye exams for contact lenses or glasses.

However, Medicare Part B (medical insurance) will cover some preventive or diagnostic eye exams, including glaucoma tests, yearly eye exams to test for diabetic retinopathy and eye tests for macular degeneration.

Medicare will typically cover cataract surgery to implant an intraocular lens if it’s performed with traditional surgical techniques or with lasers.

Following the procedure, Medicare Part B will typically provide some coverage for corrective lenses. The coverage for corrective lenses under these circumstances is limited to one pair of eyeglasses with standard frames or one set of contact lenses

Medicare also covers eye prostheses for patients with an absence or shrinkage of an eye due to a birth defect, trauma or surgical removal. Coverage includes polishing and replacements every five years. 

If you need vision coverage for routine services, you may want enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that includes that benefit.

Medicare Advantage plan benefits may vary by plan.

A Medicare Advantage plan with vision benefits may cover things like:

  • Routine eye exams
  • Preventive exams
  • Eyeglasses and contact lenses
  • Upgraded frames

Some Medicare Advantage plans may even offer coverage for specific retailers, such as frames from Warby Parker.

Check with your plan carrier to learn more about the terms of your Medicare Advantage plan vision coverage.

Does Medicare cover eye exams?

Medicare Part B does not provide any coverage for routine eye exams, but Part B will typically cover some preventive or diagnostic eye exams for patients who are at risk of certain diseases or conditions. 

Does Medicare cover glaucoma screenings? 

An annual glaucoma test may be covered by Medicare Part B if you are at a high risk of glaucoma due to having diabetes, a family history of the disease, Hispanic and age 65 and older or African American and age 50 and older. 

Glaucoma is a condition that causes damage to the optic nerve and can lead to permanent vision loss if left untreated.  

Does Medicare cover exams for macular degeneration?

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss and remains incurable. It is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina.

Medicare Part B can provide coverage for certain diagnostic tests and treatments if you have AMD.

Does Medicare cover diabetic retinopathy?

Those with diabetes carry the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, which is a complication of diabetes that damages blood vessels in the retina and affects vision.

An annual exam for diabetic retinopathy can be covered by Medicare Part B if you have diabetes.  

If qualified for any of the above coverage, you will pay 20 percent Part B coinsurance for services and items and the Part B annual deductible applies. 

Does Medicare cover exams for cataracts?

Medicare Part B typically provides coverage for tests designed to diagnose cataracts. A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens and is the leading cause of blindness around the world. 

Does Medicare cover eye exams for injuries?

Medicare will generally cover a diagnostic eye exam to determine the type and extent of an injured eye. Coverage typically extends to eye infections and treating foreign objects in the eye. 

Any such vision services that are received as a hospital inpatient may be covered under Medicare Part A.

Find a Medicare Advantage plan that covers dental and vision care

Medicare Advantage plans can come in a variety of types, such as HMOs or PPOs.

The type of plan you have may affect which dental or vision providers you can visit in your plan network. Before enrolling in a plan, it’s wise to check the plan’s network participants to see if your favorite dentist or optometrist accepts the plan.

Call today to speak with a licensed insurance agent who can help you find Medicare Advantage plans in your area that may offer dental and vision coverage.

 

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1 Jacobson, Gretchen, et al. A Dozen Facts About Medicare Advantage in 2019. (June, 2019). Kaiser Family Foundation . Retrieved from www.kff.org/medicare/issue-brief/a-dozen-facts-about-medicare-advantage-in-2019.

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Last Updated: 8/21/2019