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California Dental Association applauds Medicare coverage of medically necessary dental services

November 03, 2022 82

The California Dental Association strongly supports the Biden Administration’s expansion of coverage for medically necessary dental procedures in Medicare, a critical step that will improve access, equity and outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is codifying policies in which Medicare Parts A and B pay for dental services when those services are integral to treating a beneficiary's medical condition. Medicare is also expanding the circumstances when they will pay for dental examinations and treatments, such as to eliminate infection preceding an organ transplant and certain cardiac procedures in 2023 and prior to treatment for head and neck cancers in 2024. The absence of this dental coverage often prevents or delays the provision of covered medical treatments, increasing the risk of costly medical complications.

“CDA is pleased that Medicare beneficiaries will now have additional coverage for many medically necessary and potentially life-saving dental treatments,” said Dr. Ariane Terlet, president of the California Dental Association. “The expanded coverage is especially important for underserved populations who face higher rates of chronic health conditions and medical challenges. This moves us toward a more equitable system of care ensuring more seniors are able to access dental care and improve their outcomes for better health and well-being. CDA looks forward to our continued work with the Biden Administration to ensure effective implementation of the expanded coverage for patients and providers.”

This expansion of coverage also establishes an annual process to review public input and clinical evidence on other medical circumstances when payment for dental services may be allowed. CDA hopes that the implementation path laid out by CMS in the final rule will ensure the coverage expansion and payment mechanisms are feasible and functional for dentists and patients.