New Position Paper on Importance of Oral Health Care Benefit for Older Adults
Medicare is the federal health insurance program created in 1965 for people ages 65 and over, regardless of income, medical history or health status. The program was later expanded to cover certain persons with disabilities who are under age 65, as well as individuals who have End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Today, Medicare plays a key role in providing health and financial security to 59 million older people and people with disabilities. Yet, the oral health status of the Medicare population and its ability to afford and access oral health care are issues of serious concern that must be addressed.
Many people lose their dental insurance when they retire, and traditional Medicare does not include coverage for routine oral health care like checkups, cleanings, and x-rays, or restorative procedures (fillings, crowns, bridges and root canals), tooth extractions and dentures.