Brushing and flossing are important. However, regular dental checkups are proven to help maintain oral health and prevent minor conditions from becoming serious problems that require emergency treatment and even hospital care. Older adults with dental insurance are 2.5 times more likely to visit the dentist on a regular basis than those without insurance.
When Medicare was established in 1965, oral health was mistakenly viewed as separate from overall health. Doctors and dentists alike now recognize that oral health is essential to a healthy body and improved quality of life.
Adding dental coverage to Medicare is expected to save the government millions of dollars by preventing costly emergency treatment. The exact financial impact will depend on how the dental benefit is structured; however, all plans proposed so far have been designed so the cost of adding coverage will be offset by the savings in Medicare spending.
A wide variety of organizations dedicated to healthy aging, oral health, health policy and Medicare support adding dental coverage to Medicare.
This campaign is led by Oral Health America, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to changing lives by connecting communities with resources to drive access to care, increase health literacy and advocate for policies that improve overall health through better oral health for all Americans, especially those most vulnerable. As part of this mission, Oral Health America’s Wisdom Tooth Project® focuses on the growing concern facing older Americans when it comes to their oral health.
Original Medicare (Part A and B) does not cover preventative or routine dental care. Some Medicare Advantage plans provide dental coverage at an additional cost. Adding a dental benefit to Original Medicare would guarantee coverage for all eligible Medicare beneficiaries (including those enrolled in Medicare Advantage). This would help all older adults, including those on a fixed income, maintain their oral health.
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