If Medicare will not pay for my dental care, what other resources could help me pay?
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Last Update: September 17, 2007
In some states, Medicaid covers some dental services. You may qualify for Medicaid if you have a very low income. Check with your local Medicaid office to see what dental services are covered in your area.
To see whether you qualify for Medicaid, click on "What is Medicaid?" in the GO TO box.
To find the number for your local Medicaid office, click on the link to State Medicaid Programs in the LINKS box.
Reduced-Cost or Free Clinics
Free and reduced-cost dental clinics are available in many states. There are a number of places to search for a clinic in your area.
- Local hospitals. Call the hospitals in your area to ask if they offer dental clinics, how you can become a patient there, what services they offer, what the fees are and if payment plans are available.
- Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), also known as Primary Health Care Service Delivery Sites sometimes offer dental care. FQHCs are health care facilities located in regions defined as "medically underserved areas." People with Medicare are eligible to receive services from an FQHC. FQHCs provide Medicare-covered medical services as well as some preventive services that Medicare does not cover.
- Community Health Centers across the country provide free or reduced-cost health services, including dental care. Community Health Centers are funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
To find an FQHC or Community Health Center in your area, search the Bureau of Primary Health Care Service Delivery Sites by clicking on Primary Care Directory in the LINKS box.
- Donated Dental Service Programs operate in some states. Dentists in these programs offer free dental services if you have limited income.
- Dental Schools sometimes provide quality, low-cost dental care. Dental students work with patients under the supervision of experienced, licensed dentists.
- Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
PACE is a program available in some states to people with Medicare and Medicaid who need a nursing home level of care.
If you qualify, PACE will cover all the medical, social and rehabilitative services you need. PACE also will cover some dental services among other specialist services including items that Medicare does not cover, such as social work services, meals and more nursing home care. If you do not qualify for Medicaid, you can still participate in PACE, but will need to pay additional costs.
For more information on PACE programs in your state, click on Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) Directory in the LINKS box.
- Medicare private health plans
Some Medicare private health plans offer routine dental coverage as part of their benefits package. If you are in a private health plan (such as an HMO or PPO), call your plan to find out what dental services, if any, it covers. If you are considering joining a Medicare private health plan, make sure it covers the doctors and hospitals you prefer to use and the medications you take at a cost you can afford.
To find out what questions to ask if you are considering joining a Medicare private health plan, click on the link in the GO TO box.