One of the things I hear often from beneficiaries is that they’re concerned to find out that Original Medicare does not pay for everything — especially “extras” like vision, dental, and hearing coverage. If you’re transitioning from employer-provided health care to Medicare, you’ve probably had vision, dental, and hearing benefits all along. Since Medicare doesn’t cover them, does that mean you should go without?
The short answer is no. Each of these benefits plays an important role in your overall health, and taking care of your vision, your teeth, and your hearing can help ensure better quality of life and better overall health.
Eyesight often worsens over the course of your life, but even if you’ve always worn glasses, changes in vision could be a sign of a more serious condition. Seeing an eye doctor can help slow the onset of eye problems like glaucoma, which can be improved with medications if caught early. Some medical conditions can also be bad for your eyes. Your eye doctor can screen you for conditions like diabetic retinopathy, which can eventually cause blindness.
Research suggests that there may be an association between oral infections — primarily gum infections — and major health conditions. Even gum infections that don’t have any symptoms can travel to the heart and cause a very serious medical condition called endocarditis. And because diabetes can cause blood vessels to thicken, it can make you more vulnerable to gum disease. You should be sure to visit the dentist every six months for check-ups and cleanings to keep conditions like these in check.
Changes in hearing can also be concerning, as many of them relate to brain function. For example, vertigo can be the result of an inner ear condition or something more serious. A hearing specialist can help you determine whether you should see a specialist.
Medicare Advantage Plans Close the Gaps
One of my favorite parts of my job is telling beneficiaries not to worry: A Medicare Advantage plan can provide vision, dental, and hearing coverage. Their frowns immediately turn to smiles! If you need contacts or glasses many health plans provide an allowance to help cover the cost. In addition, many Medicare Advantage plans offer ancillary benefits that promote a healthier lifestyle but also help to manage your care. Review your current health plan to see if you have dental, vision, and hearing benefits, and if you need help, call your local Independence Blue Cross agent youribxrep.com.
Website last updated: 9/21/2018
Y0041_HM_19_69694 Accepted 11/10/2018