Original Medicare – Parts A and B – does not offer benefits for dental, vision, or hearing-related services. (Except on occasion in particular situations.)
Dental, vision, and hearing are vital in your overall health, so it’s important to get the care you need for these services.
Let’s talk about the limited care Original Medicare offers for each category and what additional benefits you can obtain to help with your out-of-pocket expenses.
Medicare and Dental Insurance
Original Medicare rarely pays for any dental services. In some instances, Medicare Part A will help with emergency dental services received while in inpatient care.
It does not offer benefits for routine preventive visits (cleanings) or restorative care (fillings, extractions, crowns, dentures, etc.).
Medicare Advantage plans do offer dental benefits. Medigap plans do not. Unless you have an MA plan, you’ll need to enroll in a separate dental policy.
Does Medicare include Vision Insurance?
Original Medicare does not usually pay for routine eye exams, glasses, or contact lenses.
Following cataract surgery, Original Medicare Part B does help pay for one payment of either standard frame eyeglasses or contact lenses. The Part B deductible will apply, and this benefit is only paid once per lifetime.
For beneficiaries who have a high risk of glaucoma, a yearly glaucoma screening is a covered benefit. Individuals at high risk include those with a family history of glaucoma, diabetics, African Americans over the age of 50, and Hispanic Americans over 65.
If an individual requires an eye prosthesis due to the loss of an eye from trauma, surgical removal, or the absence or shrinkage of an eye from congenital disabilities, Part B will also provide coverage. The prosthesis is eligible to be replaced every five years.
Lastly, Part B may also provide coverage for diagnostic tests and treatment of specific eye diseases and conditions.
For more comprehensive, routine vision benefits, you may choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or a separate vision plan. These plans are often inexpensive, but be sure to discuss the plan’s details with your insurance agent.
How Medicare and Hearing Insurance coexist
Original Medicare does not pay for hearing aids or routine hearing exams.
However, if your doctor orders a hearing or balance test to determine if medical treatment is needed, Part B will cover part of these costs. Your Part B deductible will apply.
A Medicare Advantage plan offers additional hearing coverage, but coverage varies by plan.
Medigap plans only help cover costs if Original Medicare pays first. Since Original Medicare does not cover hearing aids or routine exams, neither do Medigap plans.
Individuals may purchase a dental, vision, and hearing (DVH) policy for the best overall coverage in these three areas.