Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Will Your Medical Insurance Ever Cover Dental Work?

These days, it's important to be educated about all of your options for cutting your health care costs. One option that people aren't often aware of is that in some cases you may be able to get selected dental services covered by your medical insurance. This is one way to help reduce your out-of-pocket costs and leave more of your dental benefits (which often have lower coverage limits) intact for routine services.

The Exception to the Rule

It's important to mention that most routine services like cleanings, fillings, and crowns are almost always excluded from medical insurance coverage. But if dental work is needed as a result of a chronic disease, performed to improve a medical condition or done to restore teeth following an accidental injury, you might have coverage. 

It's wonderful that medical insurance companies see the merit of covering some of these procedures for their subscribers. With training and some willingness to learn by trial-and-error a few dental offices are starting to get familiar with the process. Medical insurance is a whole different ballgame than dental insurance submission but you can help your office by collecting all your medical insurance information like your ID card, benefits paperwork, and contact information for your insurance plan. 

Some scenarios where you might qualify for medical coverage include:

1. You are diagnosed with sleep apnea and you end up hating your CPAP breathing machine so your doctor recommends a special mouthguard instead.
2. You are taking a medication for high blood pressure that sometimes has the side effect of causing extra gum tissue to grow over and even cover some of your teeth. Your dentist uses a LASER to remove some of this to improve the appearance of your teeth and make them easier to keep clean.
3. Your have a small sore on your tongue that won't go away so your dentist performs a biopsy to give you peace of mind and rule out something harmful like cancer.
4. You find out that you need a kidney transplant. Before your doctors will approve you for surgery they ask you to take care of any dental infection, like that broken molar in the back that has been bugging you on and off.
5. You are in a car accident and although thankfully you don't have any major injuries, the accident left you with two broken front teeth that need to be repaired with crowns. 

Worth a try?

Although medical coverage for dental treatment only applies to specific situations and varies widely among carriers, it's one more tool to stretch your healthcare dollars. It never hurts to ask, so the next time your dentist recommends a procedure that seems to be closely related to your general health, you might want to bring it up!