Limited access to dental care is rapidly becoming the most significant health crisis facing America's elders, according to Oral Health America, a non-profit group whose study A State of Decay indicates that the Affordable Care Act has failed to address the problem.
Routine dental care is not provided under Medicare, and less than 20 percent of older Americans have private dental insurance, according to A State of Decay. While the ACA marketplace does offer some dental insurance plans, traditional insurance doesn't always meet seniors' needs.
"Many older people have a preexisting dental condition, which dental insurance typically does not cover - and certainly won't cover without a long waiting period. And many seniors need the more complicated restorative procedures, which insurance also may not cover," says Bill Chase, vice president of marketing for :DentalPlans.
"Until we can offer seniors meaningful expansion of dental coverage - and people truly understand the importance of their oral health to their overall health and wellbeing - we will continue to see far too many of our older citizens going without essential dental care services," Chase added.
Emergency room visits for dental problems doubled from a reported 1 million cases of adults over 65 in 1999-2000 to 2.3 million cases in 2009-2010, according to the findings in A State of Decay. The report noted that emergency rooms typically treat dental issues with extractions and/or painkillers, a temporary fix that wastes millions of taxpayer dollars annually.
"The emergency room should obviously not be the place where people get their dental care, nor should we be neglecting the oral care of our seniors. The end result is unnecessary pain, possible health complications, and avoidable expense," says Chase.
A State of Decay further warned that the lack of access to dental care currently plaguing seniors today is a growing problem that will continue to affect virtually all Americans.
:DentalPlans, founded in 1999, is the largest dental savings plan marketplace in the U.S., offering consumers access to 40+ dental savings plans from trusted healthcare brands, like Aetna, Careington, Signature Wellness, and UNI-CARE. Plan members have access to more than 100,000 dentists nationwide.
:DentalPlans, which has been included in the INC. 5000 list for three years standing, is committed to making you smile by making access to quality oral healthcare affordable and available to everyone. Visit us at www.dentalplans.com and on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/dentalplans.
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