5 key factors of dental savings plans in retirement

For those crossing into retirement, a cutoff from dental benefits can be a rude awakening.

While many employers provide employees with insurance that covers dental costs, that coverage often comes to an abrupt end when an employee retires. Medicare doesn’t cover most routine dental services. Some Medicare Advantage plans provide limited dental benefits, but costs can still add up.

“When I retired and discovered that Medicare did not cover most dental costs, I was surprised by the bills I had to pay,” says Stan Hinden, author of “How to Retire Happy: The 12 Most Important Decisions You Must Make Before you Retire.”

The total projected lifetime dental out-of-pocket expenses for a 65-year-old male comes to $8,777, according to the 2015 Retirement Health Care Costs Data Report by HealthView Insights. For a 65-year-old female, lifetime out-of-pocket dental expenses stand at $9,813.

“As you age, you can develop rather severe, and costly, dental problems,” Hinden says. “You may face large dental bills without any insurance, or without anticipating those costs when you try to figure out what your medical costs will be in retirement.”

Dental savings plans, which offer discounts on dental services, provide 1 way to reduce dental care costs in retirement. Here, experts lay out what these plans consist of, how they compare to dental insurance and what to consider before opting for 1.