Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by Rachel
According to the World Report and U.S. News, the most desirable city for you as a senior to retire to. Twenty-two percent of adults are seniors, with 17.9% of them being above 65 and 11.7% live alone. Wisconsin is an affordable state, especially for retirees, considering its low cost of living and affordable housing.
In addition, the landscapes and natural scenes are divine and site-seeing is one of the activities retirees can enjoy. People here are friendly and so are the taxes. Rest assured that there are resources in Wisconsin set up by the state and other organizations to ensure that you are comfortable in Wisconsin.
Are There Grants for Dental in Wisconsin?
Yes, dental grants are available in Wisconsin. The state was ranked the second best in oral health by WalletHub in 2021. However, there are some red flags in the dental care system. Seventy-five percent of dentists are above 40 and 35% of dental providers are above 60. In 2020, there were 57 dentists per 100,000 in Wisconsin which indicated a shortage in supply of dental practitioners.
One major limitation facing the oral health workforce is licensed dentists provide addressed without specifying location of practice making it difficult to know how many of the licensed dentists are actually working in the state. Only 29% of dentists accept Medicaid patients and 58% of them are accepting new Medicaid patients. The reasons for not accepting Medicaid patients are:
- Low compensations: the challenges related to low compensation are payment denials, failure to cover overhead and operating costs and pre-authorization issues.
- Too much paperwork
Statistics also show that a sizable percentage of the current workforce will be retiring in five years, majority of them being Medicaid providers. In July 2021, the state’s budget increased Medicaid reimbursement for dental providers increasing the accessibility of dental care services to low-income earners.
In other news, 2.3% of seniors above 65 avoided care due to cost in 2021, and 4.4% of older adults aged 55-64 are uninsured. In 2020, 74.8% of adults above 65 sought dental care services. Factors that influence dental visits are education levels and household income. Seniors with college education and from households earning above $75,000 visited dentists more frequently than their counterparts.
Dental grants offer an opportunity to increase the number of dental providers, offer better reimbursement to oral health practitioners and support programs that increase access to dental care services to the underprivileged.
How to Get Financial Help for Dental Care in Wisconsin
Wisconsin Dental Association (WDA) plays a big role in the promotion of oral health in this state. WDA Foundation runs the Donated Dental Services program that provides dental care to individuals with no means of affording treatment due to old age (above 65) or permanent disabilities. You can only get comprehensive treatment by application. Due to the large number of applicants and ling waiting period, DDS does not offer emergency or cosmetic dental services.
For 25 years, 890 dental providers and 162 dental laboratories have volunteered to offer serviced in the DDS program. Four thousand adults have received $13 million in donated comprehensive treatment and $873,000 in medical supplies and lab services.
The Department of Health Services (DHS) also runs an Oral Health Program that provides grants to dental clinics providing dental treatments to populations with untreated dental conditions. Grants offered by DHS are not given to individuals but to:
- Not-for-profit clinics
- Dental clinics that offer preventive and restorative care services to:
- Individuals above 65
- People with disabilities
- Medicaid/Badger Care members
- Children under 18 years
- Clinics not funded by the federal government as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC)
Dental Grants: WDA Foundation’s Annual Grant Program award thousands of dollars to non-profit organizations that strive to improve the oral health of Wisconsin’s-at risk. The grants are not available to individuals, only charitable organizations.
The Smile Program provides oral health supplies to non-profit organizations to distribute to low-income residents of Wisconsin. The supplies include toothpastes, toothbrushes, and dental floss to be used within Wisconsin only.
There are also Grant Funding Opportunities offered by state’s department to dental clinics serving ignored populations.
Cosmetic Dental Grants: Cosmetic dental grants do not pay for dental treatments but offer financial assistance to cover dentures, veneers, Invisalign, and implant costs. Individuals with good credits scores and healthy mouths that can handle cosmetic procedures are eligible for these grants.
Dental Implant Grants: Local community health centers may be receiving dental implant grants to help the undeserving pay for dental implants. Visit your local dental clinic to learn about the benefits you can receive from them if they receive these grants.
Free Dental Implant Clinical Trials: Clinical trials are carried out in Wisconsin for research by dental schools. Students offer dental care services to financially challenged populations under the strict supervision of faculty staff. If you’re looking for affordable or free dental implants, consider participating in these studies.
Visit the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research to learn more about the ongoing clinical trials you qualify for and their benefits.
Are There Charities/Local Organizations that Help with Dental Costs?
Church Health Services, Inc.: This is a faith-based organization that accepts uninsured and low-income adults as patients at their clinics. The services they offer include fillings, crowns, bridges, root canals, X-rays, cleanings, diagnosis, and examinations. Dental costs are on sliding-fee scale to the under-served.
Affordable Dental Care: Affordable Dental Care is a non-profit organization that offers free or sliding-scale dental care services to uninsured and underinsured seniors. It can offer these services through donations from well-wishers. Any contribution enables the organization to offer cleanings, fillings, fluoride treatment, extractions, dentures and emergency care to children, seniors and veterans.
Are There Free or Low-Cost Dental Clinics in Wisconsin?
- Open Arms Free Clinics- Elkhorn
- Affordable Dental Care, Inc.- Madison
- More Smiles Wisconsin- Madison
- Albrecht Free Clinic- West Bend
- Emergency Dental Milwaukee- West Allis
Dental clinics offer dental care services at affordable prices depending on an individual’s income. A simple search like “Free dental care near me” may list the most affordable dental clinics to help you find those nearest to you.
Does Medicare Cover Dental Implants in Wisconsin?
No. Medicare lacks a dental cover. Seniors who are unable to settle expensive dental costs should consider supplemental dental covers. If you already have the Original Medicare plans (Part A and B), getting a separate insurance plan to cover dental is an option. You can also get Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) to cover your costs. The plans come with an annual maximum benefit amount and don’t cover all dental care services. Also, for costly treatments, you will pay out-of-pocket to cover part of the charges. The longer you have your premium, the higher the percentage of costs the MA plan will cover.
Are There Grants or Programs for Helping with Teeth Fillings, Cleanings, Decay And Root Canal Costs?
Medicaid: Wisconsin Medicaid covers dental costs through Badger Care Plus. The cover requires $0.3-$3 co-payment depending on the treatment you are receiving. The cover is extensive assisting with preventive and restorative care, limiting exams and cleanings to once a year. Some services that require pre-approval and orthodontia are not covered the program .
The State of Wisconsin General Assistance Fund is a relief fund funded by the state to assist seniors who have been affected financially by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI) is a monthly cash assistance offered to seniors above 65 to help them meet their basic needs.
The inflated cost of dental care services pushes seniors to ignore their oral health care. Basic dental problems may accelerate to severe conditions if left untreated. The state, federal and non-profit organizations should continue to establish strategies that take care of older adults’ oral health.