If you are about to retire, your to-do list is not short. You have to make a visit to human resources, make arrangements with your pension plan, make a determination about how and when to collect Social Security.
And you have to take care of your teeth.
Many people who are working have the benefit of some sort of dental insurance coverage. But as you move into retirement, that number goes down. You may be able to arrange for dental coverage.
Sources of continuing dental coverage could include:
- Continuing coverage through your previous employer
- Certain Medicare Advantage plans (Part C), if you choose one
- Medicaid coverage for low-income seniors
- Other association plans that you might be a part of, like AARP or associations or consortiums that were part of your industry
If you have not or cannot obtain continuing dental coverage, then you need to have as many dental health needs dealt with prior to retirement, so make an appointment to see your dentist right away, prior to the end of your insurance coverage. Have a thorough cleaning and make arrangements to deal with any chronic issues prior to your retirement.
If you plan to permanently forego dental insurance coverage, be sure you can afford to pay for dental care out of pocket. If you have had a history of optimal oral health, this might be a reasonable risk. But, for many, this is a poor financial decision. If you are going to be without dental insurance, set aside money for cleanings and treatments, take care of your teeth fastidiously and see a dentist at the earliest sign of tooth or gum problems, while the problem remains small.
Many legislators are trying to include dental care into Medicare coverage, but this is not yet the standard. Until then, the newly retired need to either privately pay for coverage or pay up. A poor choice is to go without dental visits. Please don’t make that choice.