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oral health Archives - JUSTICE IN AGING

Cardin, Neal Express Interest in Medicare Oral Health Coverage

By | IN THE NEWS

Inside Health Policy: Cardin, Neal Express Interest in Medicare Oral Health Coverage (January 14, 2019)

Oral health is critical to overall health, yet, fewer than half of older adults have access to oral health care in a given year. In 2018, Justice in Aging contributed to a white paper released by Oral Health America. In the white paper, we discussed how incorporating an oral health benefit into Medicare Part B could expand access to oral health care to older adults.

On January 4, 2019, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced legislation to add oral health to Medicare Part B. Justice in Aging Deputy Director, Jennifer Goldberg, was quoted in the article saying that stakeholder support is coalescing behind adding an oral health benefit to Medicare Part B. The article is available online only to subscribers of Inside Health Policy. This is a summary.

Letter in Support of the Medicare Dental Benefit Act

By | Statements

In January , 2019, Senator Benjamin Cardin introduced the Medicare Dental Benefit Act of 2019, which amends the Social Security Act to provide for coverage of dental services under the Medicare program. Oral health is a key component of overall health and this new legislation is a critical step in improving the health and well-being of older adults and people with disabilities. Justice in Aging joined with Families USA, Oral Health America, and Center for Medicare Advocacy to thank Senator Cardin for his leadership on the issue. Read the letter.

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

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.