Wednesday, August 04, 2021

The LuLac Edition #4, 567, August 4th, 2021


Our “Write On Wednesday” logo.

This week we feature an article about senior dental care and how Medicare should at long last include it.


As with most other types of health care, the need for dental care increases with age. But Medicare, which ensures access to most types of health care for older Americans, does not cover dental care.

Congressional Democrats plan to introduce a major bill later this year to include dental, eye and hearing coverage in Medicare. A new study by the nonpartisan, nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation illuminates the need for dental coverage. Nearly half of all Medicare beneficiaries did not have a dental visit in 2018, the study covering that year found. It’s not a coincidence that an identical percentage of Medicare enrollees, 47%, did not have supplemental dental coverage through private plans, Medicare Advantage or Medicaid. Percentages of minority beneficiaries who did no have dental visits were especially highs: 68% for Blacks and 61% for Hispanics but only 42% for whites. The report also found 73% of beneficiaries with low incomes and 63% of those in fair or poor health did not visit a dentist.

People without coverage who sought dental care faced average out-of-pocket expenses of $874, while 20% had bills of more than $1,000 and 10% had to cover bills of more than $2,00Kaiser also reported that among Medicaid beneficiaries who had separate dental insurance, there was wide variation in rates and covered services. And the average coverage cap was just $1,300.

The Kaiser study makes a compelling case for Congress to expand Medicare to include basic dental coverage, and to establish standard basic coverage in Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Beneficiary Welfare Health Board Economics Politics Dental Care Medicaid Dental Health Care Study


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