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Efforts continue to add a Medicare dental benefit

Acknowledging that millions of Medicare beneficiaries have unmet oral health care needs, a diverse coalition of organizations, including Families USA, the American Dental Association, and the Santa Fe Group recently collaborated to study the idea of adding dental coverage to the program. Their white paper lays out a plan to add preventive and restorative dental services to the menu of medically necessary outpatient services currently covered under Medicare Part B.

Under the group’s scenario, a comprehensive dental benefit without dollar-value caps would cost the federal government $32.3 billion in the current year and raise the base premium for Part B benefits by an estimated $14.50 per month.

But dental coverage is not the only important benefit left out of Medicare. The program also largely excludes vision and hearing services, other analysts have observed.

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