This month as we focus on health insurance, it is also important to discuss two of the often underinsured areas of healthcare, dental and vision services. While we understand the importance of dental hygiene and multiple sclerosis, many individuals still don’t receive the much needed care.
Dental insurance plans can be purchased through the health insurance marketplace as a stand-alone insurance during open enrollment OR if you are planning to make changes to your health insurance plan for the 2016 year, a plan can be selected that includes dental care. Unfortunately, if vision coverage isn’t part of your health insurance plan, it cannot be purchased through the marketplace. To learn about available stand-alone vision plans, contact your state’s Department of Insurance, or a local agent or broker.
Check out the following tips on how to find dental care for the underinsured:
- Check for a local federally qualified health clinic which offers dental services. To search for a health clinic, use the HRSA website.
- Look into local dental schools. Most of these teaching facilities have clinics that allow dental students to gain experience treating patients while providing care at a reduced cost. Experienced, licensed dentists closely supervise the students
- Dental Lifelines Network offers information about free dental services in the area for those that qualify. You can look up information about your state’s program on the program’s website: http://dentallifeline.org/
- Dial 2-1-1 and connect with your local United Way. You may be directed to free or reduced cost dental services
Check out the following tips on how to find vision care and eyeglass services for the underinsured:
- VISION USA, coordinated by the Optometry Cares – The AOA Foundation, provides free eye exams to uninsured, low-income workers and their families. For more information about VISION USA, call 1-800-766-4466.
- Lions Clubs International provides financial assistance to individuals for eye care through its local clubs. You can find a local Lions Club by using the “club locator” feature on the organization’s website.
- New Eyes provides free eyeglasses to more than 8 million people in the U.S. and around the world. For more information about New Eyes, call 1-973-376-4903 or visit the New Eyes website.
- EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, provides free eye exams for qualifying seniors. To see if you qualify, please visit the EyeCare America website.