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ADA webinar to discuss Medicare dental benefit proposals

Association supports distinct program that would focus on low-income older adults

August 17, 2021

By Mary Beth Versaci

The American Dental Association will discuss Congress' proposals for a Medicare dental benefit and its own advocacy efforts supporting a program for low-income older adults during a webinar Aug. 19.

Mike Graham, ADA senior vice president of government and public affairs, and Krishna Aravamudhan, B.D.S., senior director of the ADA Center for Dental Benefits, Coding & Quality, will lead the Medicare Dental Benefit Proposal Update from Washington, D.C., at 7 p.m. CDT. They will review legislative proposals, current dental coverage for seniors and the ADA's federal policy advocacy efforts. The webinar will also include time for a live audience Q&A.

Congress is considering expanding Medicare to include dental benefits as part of the fiscal year 2022 federal budget. The Medicare dental benefit provision included in the U.S. Senate's approved budget resolution would likely cover all Medicare beneficiaries, be included in Medicare Part B and cost an estimated $238 billion over 10 years.

The Association is advocating for a distinct program within Medicare that would provide comprehensive dental care to low-income older adults, in alignment with a policy on financing oral health care for adults aged 65 and older that was passed by the ADA House of Delegates in October 2020. ADA lobbyists have been meeting with congressional staff for the past few months to discuss the Association's policy position.

In an Aug. 12 letter to Congress, ADA President Daniel J. Klemmedson, D.D.S., M.D., said an expansion of Medicare benefits should include a comprehensive dental benefit that meets the needs of beneficiaries whose income is up to 300% of the federal poverty level. He also said a dental benefit under Medicare merits a designated program that recognizes the differences in the delivery of oral health care compared with other health care services.

Registration for the webinar is free, but space is limited. The program will be recorded for those unable to attend.

Follow all of the ADA's advocacy efforts at ADA.org/Advocacy.