Category

Oral Health

White Paper Stresses Importance of Oral Health Care Benefit for Older Adults

By | Health Care, Medicare, Oral Health, PRESS RELEASE | No Comments

Washington, DC 2018 – Justice in Aging, along with a diverse group of partners, released a white paper, An Oral Health Benefit in Medicare Part B: It’s Time to Include Oral Health in Health Care. This white paper is an interprofessional, collaborative effort written and published by leaders in the consumer, healthcare and dental fields, including the American Dental Association, Center for Medicare Advocacy, the Dentaquest Foundation, Families USA, Justice in Aging, Oral Health America and the Santa Fe Group.

With an expected 72.1 million seniors living in the United States by 2030, An Oral Health Benefit in Medicare Part B: It’s Time to Include Oral Health in Health Care, outlines the need for oral health care coverage for Medicare recipients and the importance of it being integrated with, and elevated to, the same importance as the rest of health care in Medicare. Read More

White Paper: An Oral Health Benefit in Medicare Part B: It’s Time to Include Oral Health in Health Care

By | Health Equity, ISSUE BRIEF, Medicare, Oral Health | No Comments

Oral health is an integral part of overall health. Oral health problems can adversely affect one’s ability to maintain optimal nutrition, self-image, social interactions, and mental and physical health. Oral health problems can lead to chronic pain, tooth loss and serious infections. Poor oral health can even worsen chronic medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

Older adults need timely and affordable access to dental care in order to maintain their health and well-being, yet, there is currently no mechanism for most older adults to access care. Contrary to what many believe, Medicare does not include an oral health benefit. Most older adults cannot afford to purchase private oral health insurance or pay out-of-pocket for the care they need. As a result, 70 percent of Medicare recipients have limited or no dental coverage, and fewer than half see a dentist each year.

A new White Paper, An Oral Health Benefits in Medicare Part B: It’s Time to Include Oral Health in Health Care discusses how a Medicare Part B dental benefit would close disparities in dental use and expense between the uninsured and insured and among older adults with few financial resources and limited oral health education. The paper also details how such a benefit could be structured and the legislative changes that would need to happen before such a benefit could be established.

Oral Health for Older Adults in California: Advocacy Guide

By | Advocate's Guide, Health Care, ISSUE BRIEF, Oral Health | No Comments

New Advocacy Guide: Oral Health for Older Adults in California

Oral health affects overall health – this is particularly true for older adults. Yet, access to oral health treatment is limited and complicated by factors such as lack of dental coverage, complicated rules, and lack of dental providers. To assist California advocates in connecting their clients with oral health treatment, Justice in Aging has developed an Advocacy Guide for Oral Health for Older Adults in California.

The Guide includes a summary with advocacy tips on the following topics:

  • Why oral health matters
  • The state of oral health for older adults in California today
  • Health insurance coverage options for older adults including Medicare, Denti-Cal, and other forms of coverage
  • Unique barriers sub-populations of older adults encounter in accessing oral health including dual eligibles and nursing facility residents
  • Treatment alternatives for individuals without dental coverage
  • Additional resources

It is our intention that this Guide will help advocates navigate the system and empower them to identify and address systemic barriers to care.

Visit Justice in Aging’s Oral Health page for additional resources and help us celebrate #OralHealthMonth by forwarding this resource to your networks.

Fact Sheet: Denti-Cal for Adults

By | CA Health Network Alert, FACT SHEET, Oral Health, REPORTS | No Comments

In May 2014, dental benefits were partially restored for adult Medi-Cal recipients and are delivered through the Denti-Cal program. Unfortunately, many Medi-Cal recipients do not know they have dental coverage. Those who do know they have coverage often do not know what treatment they can obtain and have a hard time accessing benefits.

This new fact sheet, Denti-Cal for Adults, explains the basics of Denti-Cal coverage, how to access benefits, and provides a summary of what benefits are covered.

Please share broadly both within your own organization and with the consumers and clients you serve.

Dental Coverage for Older Adults Should be Coordinated and Evidence-Based

By | BLOG, Health Care, HOMEPAGE, Oral Health | No Comments
Maddie suffers from Crohn’s Disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract leading to significant weight loss, fatigue, and pain.[1] Recently, Maddie’s symptoms have gotten much worse and her doctor has decided that her best treatment option is chemotherapy. Maddie, like many older adults, has very poor teeth. Her doctor has told her that he will not proceed with the chemotherapy until she has her teeth fixed because the risk of infection is too great. The solution seems easy: Maddie just needs to see a dentist who will deliver the proper treatment and Maddie can receive her chemotherapy. In reality, however, Maddie has ping-ponged between her doctors and her oral health providers for two months and ultimately sought help from a legal advocate when her dental services were denied. The barriers Maddie faces are overwhelming, but fixable. Read More

Systemic Denti-Cal Problems Increase Financial Hardship for Older Adults

By | BLOG, Health Care, HOMEPAGE, Medicaid, Medicare, Oral Health | No Comments
Linda—a low-income older adult living in Los Angeles County—applied for a dental credit card after being advised to do so by her dentist. Her dentist’s office explained that, while she has dental coverage through Denti-Cal, it often takes a long time to get authorizations approved and it would be in her best interest to pay right now with the card and get reimbursed later. When Linda received her statement, it showed she owed over $2,000. Not only did she receive services that were not covered by her insurance, she also was charged for services that should have been covered by Denti-Cal but that were denied because her dentist’s office did not properly submit the claim to Denti-Cal. Unable to pay the $2,000 within the no-interest six month promotional period, Linda was hit with the balance plus six months of interest that accrued at 26.9%. Distraught, Linda contacted a legal advocate who is now working to dispute the charges and to rescind the credit card contract. Read More

Improving the Oral Health of California’s Older Adults

By | BLOG, DUAL ELIGIBLES, Health Disparities, HOMEPAGE, Oral Health | No Comments

Justice in Aging is excited to launch a new project: Improving Oral Health of California’s Older Adults. Oral health is a critical aspect of overall health for people of all ages, but especially for older adults. Unfortunately, the oral health needs of older adults, and particularly low-income older adults, in California have been neglected. As a result, older adults encounter significant challenges when attempting to access oral healthcare and consequently experience severe mouth pain, tooth loss, and the worsening of chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and diabetes.

Read More