Monday, October 4, 2021

National Oral Health Leader Launches Major Ad Campaign to Support Medicare Dental Benefit


CareQuest Institute for Oral Health’s campaign will run in 16 key Senate districts 

CareQuest Institute for Oral Health®, a national organization focused on improving oral health of all, today launched a multi-platform digital advertising campaign advocating for the inclusion of dental coverage under Medicare Part B. 
The United States Senate included a Medicare dental benefit as part of its budget blueprint released in August and is expected to release a formal legislative package this fall. The launch of the digital campaign is part of CareQuest Institute’s efforts to secure passage of this benefit that would improve the health of millions of Americans.  
“Of the 60 million Medicare beneficiaries, 26 million do not have dental coverage,” said Dr. Myechia Minter-Jordan, president and CEO of CareQuest Institute for Oral Health. “This means a population that is disproportionately people of color, rural Americans, and people with disabilities is left without basic care that affects their physical and mental well-being. If we care about ending the deep health disparities in this country, we must include dental coverage under Medicare Part B.” 
The campaign will encourage individuals to sign a petition asking Congress to pass the dental benefit and will target key Senate seats, including Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington.  
Oral health care is essential care, especially for older adults. According to the CDC, one in five adults aged 65 years or older have untreated tooth decay or have lost all their teeth and more than two in three older adults have gum disease. Poor oral health has a direct impact on overall health and is associated with increased risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes, as well as mental health. 
In August, CareQuest Institute joined with a coalition of leading health professionals to send a letter urging Congress to include dental coverage under Medicare. If passed by Congress, the legislation would help improve rates of dental visits among historically marginalized populations and lower-income beneficiaries, reduce long-term health care costs, and more.  
Adding dental coverage to Medicare is also popular with voters: A recent CareQuest Institute poll revealed that eight in 10 voters favored the inclusion of dental benefits in Medicare.  

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