Jul 15, 2021 - Health

Most seniors don't have dental coverage, and half skip care

Most on Medicare do not have dental coverage
Data: KFF; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries don't have dental coverage, and half haven't been to the dentist in the past year.

The big picture: Democrats are pushing to have the program cover dental, hearing and vision benefits the same way it does other medical care.

Between the lines: Lower-income beneficiaries, those in poor or fair health, and beneficiaries of color are most likely to report going without a dental visit over the last year, per KFF.

  • Some seniors have access to dental coverage through Medicare Advantage, Medicaid or private plans. But coverage is often capped, leading to high out-of-pocket costs even among the insured.

What they're saying: “There is a lot of evidence that people go without needed dental care because they can’t afford it," said KFF's Tricia Neuman.

  • "This would be the significant improvement to Medicare since the drug benefit took effect in 2006.”
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