The Importance of Oral Health
For far too long, oral health has been left out of our nation’s attention to health and has been considered separately from the rest of the health care system.
– Colin Reusch, Director of Policy at Community Catalyst
Gaps in Dental Coverage and Access
Glaring Gaps in Dental Coverage and Access 

The current patchwork of limited and inconsistent dental coverage is compounded by significant oral health workforce shortages that disproportionately impact rural, Tribal, and communities with low-incomes the most.  

Current coverage gaps include:  

  • An estimated 15% of people with employer-sponsored insurance have dental coverage included.
  • Routine adult dental services are not part of the Essential Health Benefits that most private plans must cover.
  • In Medicaid, adult dental benefits remain optional for states, leading to significant differences in covered services.
  • While Medicare has started covering some medically-necessary dental care, about half of beneficiaries lack any dental coverage.
The Path Forward: Comprehensive Dental Reform 

83% of voters support including dental care as an Essential Health Benefit

A child with shoulder length blonde hair holds a large sign saying "Dental Access Now" in front of a couple other people.
Photo credit: Children’s Alliance (Washington)
The Path Forward: Comprehensive Dental Reform 

To achieve oral health equity, Community Catalyst and over 100 local, state and national partners are demanding Congress uplift the following crucial policies: 

Make Adult Dental Care a Mandatory Medicaid Benefit 
  • Mandate adult dental benefits in Medicaid would improve access for millions and reduce racial disparities. 
  • Research shows it would save at least $273 million per year by reducing related medical costs.
Include Routine Adult Dental Services to Essential Health Benefits 
  • Add adult dental to the federal Essential Health Benefits package would standardize comprehensive private coverage nationwide.
  • 83% of voters support including dental care as an Essential Health Benefit to improve affordability.
Include a Comprehensive Dental Benefit to Medicare 
  • Expand Medicare to include a robust adult dental benefit would improve health outcomes for older adults and people with disabilities.
  • About 30% of older adults have low incomes and face financial barriers to affordable dental care.
Expand the Oral Health Workforce 
  • Authorize dental therapists and other workforce supports to help fill provider shortage gaps.
  • This would reduce wait times, expand care access in underserved areas, and allow more people to get preventive services.

Read the full sign-on letter text outlining our vision for comprehensive dental reform here

Get Involved
Get Involved 
  • Sign the Petition to show your support for Congress acting on comprehensive dental coverage 
  • Share Your Story about your experiences with lack of affordable dental care 
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