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 Insider Update - Tips to help make selling simple

Insider Update

Tips to help make selling simple

Addressing the insurance needs of seniors

When it comes to maintaining their oral health, seniors face unique challenges.

One issue is dental coverage. As people retire, many of them lose the dental coverage their jobs provided. Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people 65 or older, offers limited dental benefits, and 47% of those senior’s plans have no dental coverage.

Not surprisingly, many seniors fail to visit the dentist consistently. Only about half of seniors 65 and older have visited a dentist in the past year, and nearly a quarter haven’t visited a dentist in the past five years. These numbers are even higher for Black and Hispanic seniors and those with lower incomes.  This situation is particularly dire because regular dental visits are critical for seniors. As we age, our mouth becomes more susceptible to a number of oral health issues, making proper dental care more vital than ever.

If you have clients who are at or approaching retirement age, here are some dental conditions they should be aware of and a variety of individual plan options you can offer them to help them address these conditions.

Seniors face unique dental health risks

Did you know that as we age, we become more susceptible to certain dental issues? Oral health problems common among seniors include the following:

  • Cavities. More than a quarter of people aged 65 or older have untreated tooth decay.
  • Gum (periodontal) disease. About two-thirds of people 65 and older have some form of gum disease, which is the leading cause of tooth loss in seniors. Gum disease includes gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease caused by the bacteria found in plaque, and the more serious periodontitis, in which bacterial infection causes the gums and bone supporting the teeth to break down.
  • Oral cancer. Cancers of the mouth, including oral and pharyngeal cancer, are most commonly diagnosed in seniors, with a median age at diagnosis of 64 years old.
  • Tooth loss. More than 10% of people between 65 and 74 have lost all their teeth, and that number increases to nearly a quarter for people more than 75 years old.
  • Dry mouth. Many of the prescription and over-the-counter medications seniors take can decrease saliva, which can lead to tooth decay. Saliva helps prevent tooth decay by neutralizing acids and rinsing away bacteria and food particles.
  • Difficulty brushing and flossing. Older patients with physical impairments such as arthritis, or mental impairments such as dementia, may have difficulty brushing, flossing and maintaining their oral hygiene.
  • Limited dentist access. Seniors may have difficulty visiting the dentist because of medical or mobility issues, or because they don’t have access to transportation.

Your clients don't have to give up their dental coverage

Your senior clients can have dental coverage that addresses their unique needs. Individual dental plans are a great choice for retirees. These plans include the services seniors need most, including preventive care like routine cleanings and exams at no out-of-pocket cost.

Here are some individual plans that you can offer your senior clients.

  • Our Delta Dental PPO™ plan offers two options: Premium and Basic. Our Premium option offers low out-of-pocket costs and coverage for procedures that many seniors need, such as crowns, dentures, denture repair and implants. The Basic plan offers less comprehensive coverage and a lower annual maximum than the Premium plan, but at a lower monthly premium.
  • DeltaCare® USA is our fixed copayment plan and offers low-cost preventive dental care and coverage for a broad range of services, including crowns, dentures and implants, at a more affordable price than either of our PPO plans.

To make selling a snap, we’ve created a variety of helpful resources that you can offer your senior clients to help them learn more about why Delta Dental's individual plans are a great choice. You can find plan brochures, links to informative videos and access to our online Find a Dentist tool, which can help seniors find a dentist that meets their unique needs. You can also let them know about value-added features retirees will love.

Delta Dental’s commitment to seniors

We’re dedicated to protecting seniors’ oral health. Through our Senior Oral Health Program, we partner with community-based coalitions to focus on improving access to dental care, particularly for those seniors in marginalized communities. Our goals are to reduce oral care disparities, address the causes of poor oral health among older adults, particularly those living in poverty, and create a replicable model for oral health solutions.

Help ensure that your senior clients’ smiles remain bright and healthy long into retirement with these great individual plan options.