Phil Galewitz (KHN Senior Correspondent) : Medicare Plans’ ‘Free’ Dental, Vision, Hearing Benefits Come at a Cost (October 27, 2021)

Phil Galewitz, of Kaiser Health News, has made available for download his article, “Medicare Plans’ ‘Free’ Dental, Vision, Hearing Benefits Come at a Cost,” published in Kaiser Health News. The abstract is as follows:

When Teresa Nolan Barensfeld turned 65 last year, she quickly decided on a private Medicare Advantage plan to cover her health expenses.

Barensfeld, a freelance editor from Chatham, New York, liked that it covered her medications, while her local hospitals and her primary care doctor were in the plan’s network. It also had a modest $31 monthly premium.

She said it was a bonus that the plan included dental, hearing and vision benefits, which traditional Medicare does not.

But Barensfeld, who works as a copy editor, missed some of the important fine print about her plan. It covers a maximum of $500 annually for care from out-of-network dentists, including her longtime provider. That means getting one crown or tending to a couple of cavities could leave her footing most of the bill. She was circumspect about the cap on dental coverage, saying, “I don’t expect that much for a $31 plan.”

Through television, social media, newspapers and mailings, tens of millions of Medicare beneficiaries are being inundated this month — as they are each autumn during the open enrollment period — by marketing from Medicare Advantage plans touting low costs and benefits not found with traditional Medicare. Dental, vision and hearing coverage are among the most adve

Click here to view Phil Galewitz’s summary of “Medicare Plans’ ‘Free’ Dental, Vision, Hearing Benefits Come at a Cost”.

Posted by Isabella King, Associate Editor, Wealth Strategies Journal.

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