Dental Costs Can Take a Large Bite Out of Seniors' Pocketbooks

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<p>More than half of Medicare beneficiaries went without a dental visit in the past 12 months, and only 12 percent had any kind of dental insurance, according to a new <em>Health Affairs </em>study by Commonwealth Fund–supported researchers.</p><p>Authors Amber Willink, Cathy Schoen, and Karen Davis also found that lower-income beneficiaries are much less likely than higher-income ones to receive dental care, based on the analysis of 2012 Medicare survey data.</p>
<p>Despite evidence of a strong connection between oral health and physical health, Medicare excludes dental care from covered benefits, not only leaving beneficiaries at risk for tooth decay and disease but also exposing them to high out-of-pocket costs. The authors propose two policy options for adding dental coverage to Medicare’s benefit package, with both designed to cover the full cost of one annual preventive care visit plus 50 percent of costs for necessary care.</p> Read more about the study