The Story

Oral health is a key part of overall health— but for too many Americans it is unaffordable and out of reach. Access to dental benefits can help prevent serious issues associated with poor oral health, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are hard at work developing legislation and negotiating on the details of policies that they will pass through a “budget reconciliation” process this fall. Medicare dental coverage is on the list of what should be included, but it is not guaranteed and the policy details are still being set. Which means we need continued advocacy to keep Medicare dental coverage in the budget. See the “Three Things You Should Do Right Now” below to take immediate action for a dental benefit in Medicare Part B!

THREE THINGS YOU SHOULD DO RIGHT NOW

1. EMAIL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES

  • Make the case that constituents want Medicare Dental (key “why” messages)

    • Three-quarters of voters support Medicare dental coverage, and most hold Congress responsible for today’s lack of coverage
    • Poor oral health is associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer
    • Older Americans should not have to go into debt to pay for critical medical care
    • American workers contribute to Medicare for decades; they deserve comprehensive coverage that improves health
    • Providing older Americans and people with disabilities with dental coverage helps them avoid bigger health problems later in life
    • Almost three quarters of voters would be upset if their dentist opposed Medicare dental coverage
  • Customize and send this letter to Congress to your Senators and Representative. Are you a dentist, dental hygienist, or clinician? Your voice matters! Use this provider email template to let your Congressional leaders know that you support a comprehensive dental benefit in Medicare Part B for ALL beneficiaries.

  • If you already know a staff person in your Member of Congress’ office, email that contact (e.g., someone you met with during a Hill Day). If you do not have an existing relationship, you can find the contact information for the Health Legislative Assistant or Correspondent using the Congressional Matrix. Here’s a User Guide to help you use the matrix.

2. POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA

  • Engage with your candidate on social media by posting directly to their Facebook or Twitter account.
  • Tweet to friends, family, and colleagues and ask them to spread the word through social media channels. See the suggested tweets, hashtags and graphics below.

  • Find and tag your member of Congress on social media.

3. SPREAD THE WORD & SHARE THIS TOOLKIT

  • Share this toolkit with your network, especially organizations that focus on issues impacting Medicare enrollees like your local Area Agency on Aging or Ombudsman.
  • Click here for an email template you can customize to spread the word.

RESOURCES

  • Suggested Talking Points to Address Questions About Oral Health and Medicare Part B

  • Why Strengthening Medicare Dental Will Help Millions of Americans

  • Raising Concerns About Medicare “Part T”

  • These factsheets created by Families USA make the case, by state, for why now is the time to add essential oral health coverage to Medicare.
  • The Center for Medicare Advocacy makes it quick and easy to contact your members of Congress.
  • Stories are critical to helping Congressional leaders to see the “faces” of those impacted by lack of a dental benefit in Medicare. Share your story here.

Sample Social Media Posts

  • #medicare #OralHealth coverage would mean that over 60M older adults & ppl with disabilities who rely on Medicare would not only be able to afford important #DentalCare, but would also see improvements in overall health & have lower #HealthCare costs.

  • The #COVID19 pandemic has shown us how important access to affordable #HealthCare is for the health of our nation’s families. Access to #DentalCare is no different. It’s time to ensure that families who rely on #Medicare can get the #OralHealth care they need.

  • #dentalcare is so expensive without insurance that it is the number one medical service that people in America skip due to the cost.
  • When asked why #Medicare doesn’t cover dental, voters say it’s because the “gov’t is dysfunctional” & “Congress doesn’t care about older Americans.” It’s time Congress proves them wrong. https://bit.ly/3iS7UKq
  • A recent poll from YouGov shows that 9/10 voters believe #dentalcare is a necessary part of overall #healthcare and 55% hold their members of Congress responsible for the current lack of coverage. https://bit.ly/3iS7UKq
  • Our health shouldn’t depend on our wealth, but that will only be possible when #OralHealth care is covered too. It’s time to add #DentalCoverage to #Medicare.
  • Older adults and people with disabilities in [your state] are counting Congress to add #DentalCoverage to #Medicare. Our health depends on it! https://bit.ly/2WvKOle

Sample Social Media Graphics