The New York Times reports that Medicare beneficiaries are experiencing huge dental bills. Unfortunately, Original Medicare does not cover dental, vision, or hearing beyond small services that are deemed medically necessary.
Joe Biden’s new economic proposal will hopefully include more coverage under Medicare. But will it happen?
Medicare Advantage plans pay for some dental care, but not to the extent of major surgeries and implants. Usually, coverage is capped at around $1,000. Average dental costs for seniors needing root canals, crowns, and dentures usually range around $4,500.
According to a study in Health Affairs last year, poor oral health is related to many other senior health issues that can worsen along with dental problems, such as:
- Heart disease
- Pulmonary infections
- Surgery complications
According to federal data, 19 percent of older adults suffer from untreated tooth decay, while another 19 percent experience loss of all of their teeth. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries don’t have dental coverage.
The Center for Medicare Advocacy and other groups are urging Medicare to cover dental care and expand their definition of what is medically necessary when it comes to dental care. Stay tuned for news on this pressing issue.
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Miller, Mark. (2021, June 9). On Medicare and need dental work? Beware a big bill. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/09/business/medicare-dental-work-bill.html