Medicare Doesn’t Offer Dental, Vision, or Hearing Coverage. Here’s How It Could — At Low Cost.

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<p>Medicare covers a lot of health services, but it doesn’t include routine dental, vision, or hearing benefits. That helps explain why 75 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who need a hearing aid don’t have one, and why 70 percent of those who have trouble eating because of problems with their teeth haven’t gone to the dentist in the past year.</p><p>According to experts Amber Willink, Cathy Schoen, and Karen Davis, Medicare could offer a voluntary, supplemental benefit that provides basic coverage of these important preventive services at a reasonable cost to seniors. If premiums for the benefit were set at $25 per month — the average amount that seniors with incomes more than twice the poverty level spend on dental, vision, and hearing care — then the total cost would be $1.9 billion per year. Subsidies like those offered for Medicare’s Part D prescription drug benefit could help low-income seniors afford their premium and cost-sharing expenses.</p>
<p>The authors say that by using Medicare’s purchasing power and a single benefit design, the simplified approach they outline would provide a viable way for millions of beneficiaries to access the dental, vision, and hearing care that’s so important to health and well-being. </p> Read more