If you’re new to Medicare or just starting to consider your options as you get closer to age 65, you might be surprised to find out that Medicare doesn’t generally cover three important parts of your overall health: your eyes, ears and teeth. But, research shows that these parts of your health are extremely important. And, issues with your vision, hearing and dental health can lead to problems down the road and impact your ability to do everyday tasks.
So, what are those problems? And, do you have options for dental, vision and hearing insurance? Let us explain.
Tooth decay and gum disease can lead to serious health problems
One in five adults, aged 65 years or older have untreated tooth decay External Site and a high percentage have gum disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Just like skin protects your internal organs and bones, gums protect your teeth. So, when gum disease gets worse, it becomes more painful and difficult to treat External Site. To prevent gum disease, experts suggest twice-daily teeth brushing, flossing once a day, and regular check-ups and cleanings with your dentist.
Another reason older Americans are more at-risk for dental issues is because many people take both prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs. This combination can lead to dry mouth, which can eventually cause a variety of issues, like cavities.
Regular eye exams are even more important as you age
According to the American Optometric Association, your vision can change drastically after you turn 60 years old External Site. Plus, many eye diseases have no early symptoms, so it’s important to seek regular eye care. If you have diabetes, hypertension or take medicine that has eye-related side effects, regular exams are even more vital due to possible changes in the blood vessels.
Issues with vision can impact many parts of your everyday life, like driving and your balance. In fact, the CDC states that impaired vision doubles your chance of a fall External Site, which is the leading cause of injury among older adults.
Some vision disorders you should be aware of are age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, dry eye, glaucoma, and retinal detachment. The earlier these issues are diagnosed, the greater likelihood that you’ll avoid impaired vision.
Hearing problems can be frustrating, embarrassing and dangerous
Hearing loss is one of the most common conditions affecting older adults. In fact, about one in three people External Site between the ages of 65 and 74 have hearing loss. However, among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in three External Site has ever used them.
Loss of hearing can make it difficult to hear warnings, like doorbells and alarms, and communicate with family and friends. Like vision, it also plays a major role in balance. In addition, studies show that hearing loss may lead to depression External Site or other cognitive health issues like dementia, due to feelings of social isolation and confusion.
You have options for dental, vision and hearing coverage
It's no secret that taking care of your dental, vision and hearing health is important at all ages, but especially as a senior. Although Medicare doesn't cover this type of care, you do have options for insurance.
Our Blue DentalSM Plans (Iowa only) cover services like a bi-annual check-up, X-rays and routine exams. Vision plans through Avesis include coverage for annual eye exams and frames, and lenses are available at a discounted rate. Plus, Amplifon hearing benefits come complementary with all Avesis vision plans.
To learn more, check out our options that may be available to you for well-rounded health care coverage Opens New Window.