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Home » Valentine's Day » Study shows adding vision, dental, and hearing benefits to Medicare and Medicaid reduces out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries

Study shows adding vision, dental, and hearing benefits to Medicare and Medicaid reduces out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries

Policymakers are hoping to amend Medicare to include dental, hearing, and vision for their recipients that opt to avoid the care because of the expensive out-of-pocket costs.

A survey was given to beneficiaries of Medicare and Medicare Advantage to learn about their use of dental, hearing, and vision benefits and monetary issues they may deal with.

In 2019, 44% of Medicare recipients said they have trouble hearing and 35% reported having trouble seeing. Over 80% said they wear glasses or contacts and 14% use something to assist with their hearing.

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A survey from 2018 reported that 53% use dental services compared to the 35% who used vision and 8% who used hearing.

Many individuals who need the care chose not to get it because of the high prices. Hearing benefits in 2018 were around $914 and dental was $874.

9.5 million people that are on Medicare said in 2019 they couldn’t get any of the extra benefits because they were unaffordable.

Those facing the biggest issues were usually under age 65 and had long-term disabilities, on Medicare or Medicaid, had low income, and identified as Black or Hispanic.

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The price was the biggest barrier recipients claimed kept them from seeking out those services.

Medicare Advantage plans have a bit more access to these added benefits because they’re already a part of the plan, but they have an annual dollar limit.

The average amount for dental was around $1,300 in 2021 and $960 for hearing. Hearing aids are also limited to one set per client every year.

Over 60% of beneficiaries have plans that require cost-sharing for hearing aids, which can be as much as $3,355 a set.

The Kaiser Family Foundation stated that the language Medicare uses creates confusion for beneficiaries, making it more difficult for them to understand what they actually get.

If these three benefits are added to Medicare, it would cost the government over $300 billion, but it would greatly help millions of Americans who rely on Medicare.



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