A congressional proposal to expand Medicare Part B to include coverage for dental services would reduce consumer out-of-pocket spending by 80 percent ($530 per person annually).
Overall spending on dental care for those living in poverty would increase by nearly three-quarters (72%), with Black and Latino enrollees seeing a larger percentage increase. However, in dollar terms, White enrollees would see the largest increase in spending.
Dental spending would increase by 72 percent for individuals with incomes under the federal poverty level (FPL). Individuals with incomes over 400 percent of the FPL would see a 20 percent increase in Medicare spending.
Black and Hispanic enrollees would experience the largest percentage increase in dental spending under the policy. However, in dollar terms, spending would increase most for White enrollees.
Per capita spending increase in dollars, by racial/ethnic background:
Non-Hispanic White: $1,032
Overall expenditures on dental care would increase by approximately one-third (34%) or $19.4 billion. Total spending for dental services would increase from $841 to $1,129 per capita.
Access to dental coverage in Medicare is essential as poor oral health is linked to poor overall health. Expanding coverage in dental services is an opportunity to close longstanding gaps in access to dental services.
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