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Most Medicare Beneficiaries Lack Dental Coverage, and Many Go Without Needed Care

Almost two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries (65%), or nearly 37 million people, do not have dental coverage and many go without needed care, according to a new KFF brief on dental coverage and costs for Medicare beneficiaries. Rates are even higher among black and Hispanic beneficiaries, and those with low incomes. Medicare…

Brief Examines Five Potential Ways to Improve Dental Coverage for People on Medicare

Medicare does not cover routine dental care, and two-thirds of the Medicare population have no dental coverage at all. With limited or no dental coverage, some incur high out-of-pocket costs, while others forgo need dental care because they can’t afford it. Policymakers in Washington and others are exploring ways to…

Drilling Down on Dental Coverage and Costs for Medicare Beneficiaries

Medicare does not cover routine dental care and the majority of Medicare beneficiaries do not have dental coverage. Some beneficiaries have dental coverage through other sources, including Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, and private plans, but almost half of all beneficiaries have not been to the dentist in the past year and many older adults face high out-of-pocket costs for needed dental care. The brief reviews the state of oral health for people on Medicare, describing the consequences of foregoing dental care, current sources of dental insurance, use of dental services, and beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket spending.

Policy Options for Improving Dental Coverage for People on Medicare

Medicare does not cover routine dental care and the majority of Medicare beneficiaries do not have dental coverage. This brief examines five potential ways to make oral health care more available and affordable for the Medicare population. This brief reviews the limits of dental coverage permitted under current Medicare law, then describes each of the policy options, with an analysis of likely implications for key stakeholders, including Medicare beneficiaries, taxpayers, insurers, and dental professionals