Monday, December 12, 2016
Most Medicare Beneficiaries Lack Dental Coverage
Reuters reports in continuing coverage that a recent study suggests that “only about one in nine U.S. adults with Medicare coverage” also have dental coverage, and “many of them may be putting off oral healthcare as a result.” Researchers “examined nationally representative survey data for 56 million people on Medicare,” finding 80 percent of seniors with dental coverage had a dental visit in the previous year, while only 41 percent of seniors without dental coverage received a dental exam. “We knew that older adults in the U.S. have substantial oral health problems in the way of tooth loss or untreated tooth decay, but this article really brings to light the substantial differences in access to dental services by income groups and how dental insurance mitigates much of these access issues across incomes,” said lead study author Amber Willink, a public health researcher at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The analysis found dental coverage status “appeared to be the biggest predictor of whether a person received oral health care.”
The findings are published in the December issue of the journal Health Affairs.