September 25, 2019
The Honorable Lloyd Doggett
2307 Rayburn House Office Building
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative Doggett:
On behalf of our millions of members and supporters, I write to strongly support the “Medicare Dental, Vision, and Hearing Benefit Act of 2019,” which creates routine hearing, vision and dental benefits under Medicare. Many people are surprised to learn that these benefits—standard under many employer benefits packages—are not currently covered by Medicare.
Only 29 percent of seniors have dental coverage. Lack of coverage can lead to serious illness. Your bill would address this by providing for routine dental cleanings and exams, basic dental services, such as fillings and crowns, major dental services and emergency dental care.
By providing coverage for hearing services, this legislation would improve seniors’ health and safety while reducing out-of-pocket costs for seniors. Hearing loss affects more than 40 percent of people over 60 years old, more than 60 percent of those over 70 years old, and almost 80 percent of those over 80 years old. Yet, only 1 in 5 Americans diagnosed with hearing issues uses a hearing aid in large part because of financial barriers to obtaining them. Costs for a pair of hearing devices can range from $1,000 – $6,000. Research shows that untreated hearing loss often leads to a variety of serious health problems and injuries, including the higher risk of dementia and falls.
Nearly 80 percent of all seniors require eyeglasses, yet Medicare doesn’t cover them or routine eye exams. Your bill fills this gap by covering annual eye exams and other necessary services including up to one set of lenses every year and frames every two years.
We strongly support this needed legislation, which will lower costs for seniors, and applaud you for your leadership on this important issue.
President and CEO