Poll: Half of seniors lack dental insurance, most support Medicare coverage

2016 08 16 15 00 24 778 Woman Senior Citizen 400

Almost all U.S. adults older than age 65 support adding dental benefits to Medicare, according to a survey from the University of Michigan.

The National Poll on Healthy Aging found 93% of people ages 65 to 80 supported including dental coverage in Medicare, and 59% liked the idea even if they had to pay more for their benefits.

Furthermore, only 53% of survey respondents said they currently had dental coverage. Of these, about half had coverage as retirees, employees, or spouses of employees, and another quarter bought coverage through a Medicare Advantage plan. Almost 80% of people with a Medicare Advantage plan bought one at least in part because of dental benefits.

In addition, about 20% of survey respondents delayed dental care or went without it in the past two years. Cost and insurance problems were the top reasons for the delay in care.

The National Poll on Healthy Aging is a collaboration between the University of Michigan's Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, the university's academic medicine, and the AARP. The survey includes responses from more than 1,000 adults ages 65 to 80.

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