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CHIP TIPS: Children’s Oral Health Benefits

This brief examines a new requirement under the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 that state CHIP programs cover comprehensive dental benefits. The reauthorization law also allows states with separate CHIP programs to offer a dental-only plan for children who have other health insurance but lack adequate dental…

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 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

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