Only half of all Medicare enrollees have seen a dentist in the last year because Medicare excludes coverage of routine preventative and restorative oral health care except in limited circumstances. This puts older adults at risk of serious and worsening chronic health conditions.
Adding oral health coverage through Medicare Part B would be the most inclusive and equitable approach for incorporating a dental benefit into Medicare. However, we often get questions on why expanding dental coverage through Medicare Advantage or Medigap plans is not a viable solution to oral health coverage in Medicare. Justice in Aging, the Center for Medicare Advocacy, and Families USA have created a fact sheet outlining the many limitations to only offering dental benefits through Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans that would leave large numbers of older adults entirely without coverage and many others with minimal coverage and varying out-of-pocket costs.