Why doesn't Medicare cover dental, hearing, and eyeglasses?

Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, doesn’t cover everything. Routine dental care, hearing aids, and eyeglasses are statutorily excluded from Medicare coverage. It would take an act of Congress to include routine dental services, hearing aids, and eyeglasses in Medicare program coverage.

Medicare coverage of dental care

Medicare doesn’t cover routine dental care, such as oral exams, cleanings, fillings, bridges, or crowns. However, there are a few situations where you may be covered for dental services:

Dental services may be covered if they are an essential part of another Medicare-covered procedure. For example, if you hurt your jaw in an accident, Medicare may cover jaw reconstruction if it is medically necessary to treat your injury. Medicare may cover extraction of teeth to prepare the jaw for radiation treatment for jaw-related neoplastic diseases. Medicare may cover dental examinations prior to a complicated procedure (such as a kidney or heart transplant) that requires an oral exam. You’ll be covered under Medicare Part A or Part B, depending on whether the oral exam is performed in an inpatient or outpatient setting. Some Medicare Advantage plans may include benefits beyond what Original Medicare covers, including routine dental services. Medicare Advantage plans vary in terms of the benefits covered, so check with the specific plan if you’re interested in dental coverage.

Medicare coverage of hearing aids

Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids or exams to get fitted for them. You’ll pay 100% of the cost if you have Original Medicare, Part A and Part B.

You may be able to get coverage for hearing care (including hearing aids) through a Medicare Advantage plan. Since benefits vary, check with the individual Medicare Advantage plan.

Medicare coverage of eyeglasses

Medicare doesn’t typically cover eyeglasses or contact lenses. However, Medicare Part B may cover corrective lenses after you have cataract surgery to implant an intraocular lens. You’ll be covered for either one set of glasses or contact lenses following your surgery if you get these items from a supplier that is enrolled with the Medicare program. If you upgrade your frames, you’ll pay any extra costs.

In most other situations, you’ll pay the full cost for eyeglasses and contact lenses. You may be able to get coverage for routine vision services (including glasses or contact lenses) through a Medicare Advantage plan.

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