senior, medicare, medicare coverage

Seeing Clearly: The Value of Dental, Vision and Hearing Medicare Coverage

“Say cheese!” “Eyes wide open!” and “Listen up” are things most people say without a second thought. But the body parts they refer to – your teeth, eyes and ears – are  definitely worth paying attention to and keeping healthy. And while everyone should have vision and dental coverage, it’s even more important for Medicare beneficiaries.

While age comes with wisdom and experience, it also comes with a higher risk for vision, dental and hearing concerns. In fact, people over the age of 65 account for 30 percent of all vision impairments. Here are some of the issues you’ll want to be aware of:

  • Eye diseases and disorders: Two-thirds of Americans rely on prescriptions to see clearly. In addition to needing eyeglasses, you may encounter cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and other diseases. Regular visits to the eye doctor, covered under a vision plan add-on, can help prevent or detect these diseases early, lessening the burden in the long run.
  • Tooth decay and erosion: Tooth decay over time is inevitable – even if you are a devoted brusher and flosser. As you age, you might also have to deal with gum recession, swelling and decay. And oral health issues can be connected to other serious health conditions such as diabetes. Acquiring dental coverage early on can help create healthy dental habits for the future.
  • Hearing loss: One in five people in their 50’s struggle to hear sounds below a quiet whisper. If caught early enough, hearing aids or (in more extreme cases) cochlear implants can give a much-needed volume boost. If monitored and maintained closely, however, your odds of serious hearing damage are greatly reduced.

Vision and dental health is also important for your day-to-day needs and peace of mind. These specialty add-ons to your Medicare coverage can be beneficial in the following ways:

  • If you’re beginning a second career, keeping your vision in good shape can help improve your ability to work. Data has shown that vision disorders account for more than $8 billion in lost productivity each year.
  • Routinely visiting the dentist and optometrist has been shown to lower your medical claims, so regular check-ups that identify the need for treatment can keep bills lower down the road.

Proactively getting exams and caring for your sensory health helps you live a richer life now and down the road. During Medicare Open Enrollment Period (October 15 to December 7 each year), be sure to consider these benefits as add-ons to your Medicare Advantage plan. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan offers comprehensive supplemental dental, vision and hearing benefits that may be right for you.  Reach out to our team with questions on ways to enhance your plan with the coverage you need today.

For more helpful information on enrolling in the right Medicare coverage for you, check out these other blogs:

Medicare Plus BlueSM, BCN AdvantageSM and Prescription BlueSM are PPO, HMO-POS, HMO and PDP plans with Medicare contracts. Enrollment in Medicare Plus Blue, BCN Advantage and Prescription Blue depends on contract renewal.