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ADA participating in discussions regarding a dental benefit in Medicare

July 27, 2018

By Michelle Manchir

As a coalition of consumer advocacy groups continues to seek an addition of a dental benefit in Medicare, the ADA is educating the coalition and advocating for members and patients.

Organizations including the AARP, Families USA and Oral Health America are looking to raise awareness among federal legislators with the long-term goal of introducing a bill in the next few years that would add an oral health benefit in Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older and certain younger people with disabilities.

The coalition July 20 released a white paper on the proposed benefit, examining need, cost and needed legislative changes. The ADA contributed data to the white paper, but the Association's input "does not constitute endorsement of inclusion of a dental benefit under Medicare at this time," ADA President Joseph P. Crowley said in an email to members July 23.

"The ADA Board of Trustees determined that it was critical for the ADA to educate this coalition to ensure that the dentist perspective on this national health policy issue is represented and understood," Dr. Crowley said.
 
To read the white paper, click here.

The ADA is currently investigating options to serve the dental care needs of a growing elder population and intends to continue to educate the coalition so that any policy change works for both dentists and patients, Dr. Crowley said.

"On behalf of our members and the public, the dentist perspective on this national health policy issue must be represented and understood," Dr. Crowley said. "Ultimately, success depends on establishing a sustainable program that will actually increase oral health for seniors."
 
The ADA's Council on Dental Benefit Programs is studying this issue in order to make an informed recommendation for the profession.  

Members who want to share opinions on this issue can email the council at dentalbenefits@ada.org. Comments will also be shared with other ADA councils and the Board of Trustees for review.

To learn more about how Medicare works, click here.