Melissa Andel on Adding Dental, Hearing, Vision Benefits to Medicare

It’s right to acknowledge that dental, hearing, and vision are important for total health care for Medicare beneficiaries, said Melissa Andel, MPP, vice president of health policy at CommonHealth Solutions.

It’s right to acknowledge that dental, hearing, and vision are important for total health care for Medicare beneficiaries, said Melissa Andel, MPP, vice president of health policy at CommonHealth Solutions.

There are considerations to add dental, hearing, and vision benefits to Medicare: what impact might that have on seniors’ health?

I don't think anybody disputes the importance of dental health as part of a person's overall physical health. And then, obviously, vision and hearing is just as important. And so, to make sure that the component are available to all Medicare beneficiaries, not just those beneficiaries who are in Medicare Advantage plans, you know, and now that about 40% of Medicare beneficiaries do have those benefits through Medicare Advantage plans. But I do think that it's a good idea to add that.

The process of adding it and how you go about doing that and how you set the fee schedule and payments and work that out with the dentist and the audiologists and the optometrists, you know, that is a whole other discussion. But I do think it is right to acknowledge that those 3 things are important for total health care.