The U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) has introduced the Medicare Dental Benefit Act of 2019, S. 22. This bill would allow Medicare beneficiaries to receive dental care through their Medicare coverage.
Senator Cardin’s suggested bill would add dental benefits to Medicare Part B since Medicare does not currently cover routine dental care.
At least 70 percent of seniors either do not have dental care or have limited coverage. This is due to the high out-of-pocket costs associated with dental care.
As people age, tooth loss and gum disease become more prevalent. Without dental care not covered by Medicare, 68 percent of adults 65 and older have gum disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that one in five older adults have lost all of their teeth.
It is more common than not that people don’t have access to the dental coverage that they need. That includes a lack of information that they need to properly care for their teeth. Issues with oral health can lead to other health issues like heart disease.
Medicare does not currently cover any medically necessary dental care or routine dental care. However, if you have emergency dental work done in a hospital setting, Medicare Part A may cover the costs.
The suggested bill (S. 22) would repeal the exclusion of dental care and dentures under Medicare. Dental care is excluded under Section 1862(a)(12) of the Social Security Act. The bill’s goal is to expand Medicare Part B’s benefits to also cover dental services such as routine cleanings, fillings, major services, and more.
The bill that Senator Cardin has proposed has already gained some traction and support from organizations like Oral Health America and the Center for Medicare Advocacy.
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