Medicare dental coverage may be pushed to 2028: 5 things to know

Dental coverage benefits under Medicare could be delayed until 2028 under new legislation introduced Sept. 7.

The new legislation would establish vision benefits in 2022 and hearing benefits in 2023, followed by dental benefits in 2028.

Senate Democrats were seeking to expand dental, vision and hearing benefits under Medicare and Medicaid in a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. However, efforts to accelerate the adoption of dental coverage began after CMS officials projected that it would take several years to implement.

Here are five things to know about the new legislation:

  1. The Ways and Means Committee will consider the new proposal Sept. 9.
  2. Democrats plan to push the legislation forward with reconciliation, a method that bypasses Republican votes in the Senate.
  3. The committee is delegating key details to the Department of Health and Human Services, including payment rates for dental services. Dentists also are excluded from the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System, which determines payment adjustments.
  4. Tricia Neuman, senior vice president of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and executive director of the Kaiser's Program on Medicare Policy, said dental coverage could take years to implement because of the high number of dentists that will need to be enrolled and trained in the program.
  5. The proposal would require Medicare to pay half the costs for major dental treatments, including bridges, crowns and root canals.

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