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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.

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Policy Options for Improving Dental Coverage for People on Medicare

Medicare does not cover routine dental care and about half 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

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Medicare and Dental Coverage: A Closer Look

Medicare does not cover routine dental care and about half of Medicare beneficiaries do not have dental coverage. Some beneficiaries have dental coverage through other sources, including Medicare Advantage, but 47% 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. This brief provides new data on the share of Medicare beneficiaries with dental coverage, the share with a dental visit in the past 12 months, and out-of-pocket spending on dental care. It also takes a closer look at the scope of dental benefits offered to Medicare Advantage enrollees in individual plans in 2021.

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Medicare’s Finances Have Gotten Much Worse in Recent Years, Foreshadowing Tough Choices for November’s Winners

This policy watch post discusses the latest Medicare Hospital Insurance trust fund solvency projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which show the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt Medicare’s financial outlook, and foreshadow the tough choices facing the next President and Congress.

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Medicare Advantage 2021 Spotlight: First Look

For 2021, the average Medicare beneficiary has access to 33 Medicare Advantage plans, the largest number of options available in the last decade, and can choose from plans offered by eight firms. Among the majority of Medicare Advantage plans that cover prescription drugs, 54 percent will charge no premium in addition to the monthly Medicare Part B premium. As in previous years, the vast majority of Medicare Advantage plans will offer supplemental fitness, dental, vision, and hearing benefits. In addition, virtually all will also offer telehealth benefits in 2021.

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Medicare Advantage Is Close to Becoming the Predominant Way That Medicare Beneficiaries Get Their Health Coverage and Care

As Medicare Advantage continues to grow, a gradual but significant reshaping of the Medicare program is taking place. A new KFF analysis finds that nearly half of eligible Medicare beneficiaries – 28.4 million out of 58.6 million Medicare beneficiaries overall – are now enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. That represents…

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Key Facts About Medicare Part D Enrollment and Costs in 2022

This analysis provides the latest data about Medicare Part D enrollment, premiums, and cost sharing in 2022 and trends over time, including information about stand-alone prescription drug plans (PDPs) and Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans.

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A Review of 62 Studies Finds Few Big Differences Between Traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage on a Variety of Measures

With the Medicare open enrollment period set to begin Oct. 15, a perennial decision faced by Medicare beneficiaries is whether to get their coverage through traditional Medicare or the private plans known as Medicare Advantage. A new KFF review of 62 studies published since 2016 that compares Medicare Advantage and…

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.