Families USA and the DentaQuest Partnership released a new resource, Addressing Rural Seniors’ Unmet Needs for Oral Health Care.
Residents in rural America face major difficulties in access, coverage, and geography that limit their ability to obtain good oral health care. This is especially true for the rural elderly, whose oral health is often worse than that of the rest of the nation. Luckily, there are potential policy solutions that address these barriers and, in some cases, pending legislation that could help.
For more detailed information, please read the Health Affairs blog post.
In addition, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and the Senate Special Committee on Aging introduced the Medicare and Medicaid Dental, Vision, and Hearing Benefit Act of 2019, S. 1423.
- S.1423 would add a dental benefit to Part B of the Medicare program, ensuring seniors and people with disabilities have access to the dental services they need to manage chronic conditions and support their oral and overall health.
- It would also provide increased reimbursement to states that choose to cover adult dental benefits in their Medicaid program. Because adult dental benefits are currently optional for state Medicaid programs, S.1423 would provide a financial incentive for states to cover the comprehensive dental services people with Medicaid coverage need. This would also open up an opportunity for oral health advocates to stress the importance and cost effectiveness of dental benefits in their states’ Medicaid program.