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Medicare would cover dental, vision and hearing under Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending plan

JayDubya

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Medicare would cover dental, vision and hearing under Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending plan​

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/14/med...al-vision-hearing-under-democrats-budget.html

Key Points
  • There’s no guarantee that the proposal to expand Medicare’s coverage will make it through the full legislative process.
  • It’s uncertain exactly what would be covered and to what degree, although other legislative efforts could provide some clues, including a bill that was introduced last week and another that cleared the House in 2019 but died in the Senate.
Medicare — the health insurance program relied on by most older Americans — would cover dental, vision and hearing under a budget agreement announced late Tuesday by Senate Democrats.

The proposal for expanded coverage was included as part of a plan to spend $3.5 trillion over the next decade on climate change, health care and family-service programs, all part of President Joe Biden’s economic agenda. Although there’s no certainty that everything in the budget blueprint will make it through the full congressional process, Medicare advocates are hopeful that coverage of the extra benefits will come to fruition.

“This would be a very big deal for the Medicare program and Medicare beneficiaries,” said David Lipschutz, associate director and senior policy attorney for the Center for Medicare Advocacy.

“If Congress adds [those] benefits, it would fill some major gaps in coverage that the program has had since its inception,” Lipschutz said.

About 62.7 million individuals are enrolled in Medicare, the majority of whom are age 65 and older and rely on it as their primary health insurance. The program was created through congressional legislation in 1965 under President Lyndon Johnson and largely reflected health-coverage standards at the time, which didn’t involve widespread coverage for dental, vision and hearing, Lipschutz said.

“But as the health-care system has evolved, Medicare has often been slow to catch up,” he said.

Original Medicare consists of Part A (hospital coverage) and Part B (outpatient care coverage). Except for limited exceptions, there is no coverage related to dental, vision or hearing, which can lead to beneficiaries forgoing care.

“It would be a significant improvement [to provide coverage] for people who often go without needed care because they can’t afford it and for people who pay a lot for the care they need,” said Tricia Neuman, executive director for the Kaiser Family Foundation’s program on Medicare policy.

Some beneficiaries get limited coverage for dental, vision and hearing if they choose to get their Parts A and B benefits delivered through an Advantage Plan (Part C), which often include those extras. About 40% of beneficiaries are enrolled in Advantage Plans.

However, Lipschutz said, the extra coverage generally is not comprehensive. On the other hand, if expanded benefits — no matter how generous — were required under original Medicare, they’d become standard in an Advantage Plan.

“We’d hope this would enrich benefits for all beneficiaries,” Lipschutz said.

While no specifics were released about how the expanded coverage would be funded, Biden has proposed imposing higher taxes on the rich and on corporations.

The Senate Democrats’ announcement also provided scant details about proposed changes, although other efforts to expand Medicare coverage could offer some clues.

A House bill introduced last week by Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, would include things such as dentures, preventive and emergency dental care, refractive eye exams and eyeglasses, and hearing aids and exams.

The expanded coverage also was included in a broader health-care-related bill that cleared the House in 2019 but was not taken up by the Senate. Under that proposal, beneficiaries would have chipped in the standard 20% for some dental coverage. Major treatments — i.e., bridges, crowns, root canals — would have cost more. Dentures also would have been covered, within limits. And routine eye and hearing exams, as well as hearing aids, contact lenses and eyeglasses, also would have been included.
 

chieftain

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FREE SHIT FOR ALL!!!
 

Fatrat

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Time to adopt National Health Care, stop fiddling around with all VA, Medicare, Medicaid crap...
 

chieftain

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So a $2 trillion deficit turns into a $5.5 trillion dollar one...?
 

hammerhead

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Those coverages are available now with a supplemental policy.
 

the_shootist

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Don't care what the commies are doing. Every time the communist Democrats pass some bill it has two results:

  1. raise taxes
  2. stick that red hot poker deeper into our butts
 

nickndfl

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Deficits don't matter anymore. We have crossed the Rubicon into a Grand Canyon of debt that will never be paid back. Hey, if I owed you $10k I would have a problem, but if I owed you $10m you have the problem.
 

MrLucky

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Those coverages are available now with a supplemental policy.
(laughing) Yeah. My supplemental coverage policy premium for the 20% not covered by Medicare costs MORE than my Medicare premium which covers the 80%.

A little surprise for all you fella's/gal's not on medicare yet. If you have a bill that medicare decides doesn't qualify for payment, your supplemental policy won't cover it either. I have this doc who performs this certain test when I see him; medicare decides it's not necessary so they won't pay it, and neither will my supplmental. So I'm on the hook for the full amount out-of-pocket.
 

hammerhead

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(laughing) Yeah. My supplemental coverage policy premium for the 20% not covered by Medicare costs MORE than my Medicare premium which covers the 80%.

A little surprise for all you fella's/gal's not on medicare yet. If you have a bill that medicare decides doesn't qualify for payment, your supplemental policy won't cover it either. I have this doc who performs this certain test when I see him; medicare decides it's not necessary so they won't pay it, and neither will my supplmental. So I'm on the hook for the full amount out-of-pocket.
My supplemental costs me $0.00.
 

MrLucky

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^^ And?
 

Avalon

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Just my 2 cents worth. Dental care is very much tied into cardiovascular health. Rotten teeth can cause bacteria to migrate to the heart and blow out a valve. I'm not sure why dental care has never been considered medical care unless its cosmetic.
 

Avalon

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Those coverages are available now with a supplemental policy.
my very poor dental supplementation cost 55 dollars a month. I can afford it but many can not.
 

hammerhead

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Yeah, it's medicare. Gives me an eye and ear exam once a year, discounts on hearing aids and glasses, a online pharmacy. Most things have to be in network.
 

gnome

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Just my 2 cents worth. Dental care is very much tied into cardiovascular health. Rotten teeth can cause bacteria to migrate to the heart and blow out a valve. I'm not sure why dental care has never been considered medical care unless its cosmetic.
This^^
It doesn't stop with heart disease, either. Dental infections can lead to cancer and all sorts of degenerative disease.

I've managed to avoid the doctors office almost the entirety of my adult life with basic self care around diet and exercise.
The dentist, not so much. Delaying dental care only leads to bigger dental problems.
 

engineear

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Have a Humana plan, costs zero. Picks up just about everything Medicare doesn't. $25 copay for specialists. Dumped my Plan G that was $300 a month with no copay or hospital costs. But being somewhat healthy it's much cheaper per year.
 

MrLucky

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We're discussing apples and oranges. It's Medicare & a supplemental plan or a Medicare Advantage plan (part C). Two different animals. Yes, a Medicare Advantage plan (part C) includes Medicare & offers benefits you might not get with a stand-alone supplemental plan, but there are strings attached to an Advantage plan that may not be suitable for all. My niece who works in a hospital and watched her father pass away from stage 4 cancer says "when you really need it, you want straight Medicare, not Medicare Advantage". I believe you can switch from an Advantage plan to regular Medicare with 30 days notice. But a lot can happen in those 30 days.

Perhaps @Avalon can chime in here and prove or disprove what my niece told me.
 

MrLucky

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Dumped my Plan G that was $300 a month with no copay or hospital costs.
Note that you can return to your Part "G" if you want to. Since you started with it, you can return to it, but you can't go higher like "F". Which really doesn't matter as "F" is being discontinued in many plans. But if you started with "F" and leave it, you can return to it later, even if it is discontinued.

I thought plan "G" did not cover the hospitial deductible only "F" did. Which is why "healthier" people choose "G". Why pay a premium for a no-pay hospital deductible that you aren't using. Or did I mis-interpret what you said?
 

engineear

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You got it. I was in and out of the hospital the past few years. So far so good this year.
The other issue was with the 1 heart med I take. Under G I paid the first $400 every January for 90 pills. Now, only $15 every quarter.
 

tigerwillow1

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In my neck of the woods, crowns run about $1,500 and implants up to $10,000. Imagine if everybody on medicare starts going for them because they're "free".

I need different strength lenses on reading glasses. To solve this I buy stock low cost reading glasses, one of each strength, and swap lenses. If it were "free" I'd just load up on prescription reading glasses.