An estimated 275,000 Missouri adults can get dental insurance now as the state has expanded who is eligible for Medicaid. But with so few dentists participating in the program, the state’s already-backlogged dental clinics are facing a glut of new clients.
KHN answers questions for seniors about how this new benefit might work.
Health equity advocates see a once-in-a-generation opportunity to provide a dental benefit to millions of older Americans as Congress considers expanding Medicare services. But complicating that push is a debate over how many of the more than 60 million Medicare recipients should receive dental coverage.
The ads for supplemental Medicare Advantage plans describe vision and dental benefits, even grocery discounts and food deliveries. But look at the fine print.
In a battle reflecting turf wars around the country, Illinois dentists defeated legislation that would have allowed hygienists to practice in nursing homes and prisons where dental care can be scarce.
The plans are designed for people who don’t get dental coverage through their jobs and can’t afford an individual plan. For about $300 to $400 a year, patients receive certain preventive services at no charge and other procedures at a discount.
Democrats have hit a snag in their effort to compile a $3.5 trillion social-spending bill this fall — moderates are resisting support for Medicare drug price negotiation provisions that would pay for many of the measure’s health benefit improvements. Meanwhile, the new abortion restrictions in Texas have moved the divisive issue back to the political front burner. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Rachel Cohrs of Stat and Shefali Luthra of The 19th join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interview’s KHN’s Phil Galewitz about the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” installment, about two similar jaw surgeries with very different price tags.
When the program began half a century ago, backers believed the benefits would expand over time, but politics and concerns about money have stymied most efforts. Now congressional Democrats are looking to add vision, dental and hearing care.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who is helping to negotiate the health care spending framework for the Democrats’ budget plan, said lawmakers may have to settle for very basic versions of programs deployed in the package. But the key, he added, is to get the “architecture of these changes, bold changes,” started and show people what is possible.
Dentists know how to maximize the profits in your mouth. But sometimes it’s outright fraud — to the tune of billions every year.