Can you say “dentista?”
Increasingly expensive dental care costs are forcing seniors to bite down hard—and head to Mexico to preserve their pearly whites, the Associated Press reports.
Nearly 70 percent of seniors do not have dental insurance, according to a 2013 Harris Interactive survey commissioned by Oral Health America. Medicare does not cover dental care, and many employers do not offer post-retirement health benefits. You can get dental coverage through the Affordable Care Act, but only if you purchase general health coverage first. (Many seniors already have that coverage.)
Even with coverage, crowns, bridgework, implants and dental surgery can easily exceed the annual limit. As a result, seniors who need extensive dental work may have limited options and could face out-of-pocket costs running into the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars; 23 percent of seniors in the Oral Health America survey said they have not seen a dental provider in five years.
Just as people traveled to Canada to buy their prescription drugs at lower cost or traveling the world for other medical services and procedures, more Americans are now flocking to places like Los Algodones, Mexico for dental care. Dental care in Mexico is much cheaper, thanks to lower labor costs and fewer regulatory requirements — factors that you should keep in mind before heading south of the border. The dentists in Mexico maintain that they may not have as much education as their American counterparts, but they spend more time practicing clinical work.
It’s not just people who live in border cities like El Paso, Texas crossing the border to take care of their teeth. The Associated Press reports that shuttle services exist to take dental patients from the Phoenix area to Los Algodones, a 200-mile trip.
Before you book a trip, though, remember that should something go wrong you may not have the same legal recourse as in the U.S., and the dentists may use different types of equipment--so do your research first.
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Health care spending in the U.S. will grow at an average annual rate of 5.5 percent from 2017 through 2026, according to new estimates published in Health Affairs by the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The projections mean that health care spending would rise as a share of the economy from 17.9 percent in 2016 to 19.7 percent in 2026.
Margot Sanger-Katz and Jim Tankersley in The New York Times: “The deal struck by Democrats and Republicans on Monday to end a brief government shutdown contains $31 billion in tax cuts, including a temporary delay in implementing three health care-related taxes.”
“Those delays, which enjoy varying degrees of bipartisan support, are not offset by any spending cuts or tax increases, and thus will add to a federal budget deficit that is already projected to increase rapidly as last year’s mammoth new tax law takes effect.”
Congress passed a law in 2015 requiring the IRS to use private debt collection agencies to pursue “inactive tax receivables,” but the financial results are not encouraging so far, according to a new taxpayer advocate report out Wednesday.
In fiscal year 2017, the IRS received $6.7 million from taxpayers whose debts were assigned to private collection agencies, but the agencies were paid $20 million – “three times the amount collected,” the report helpfully points out.
Goldman Sachs economists see the tax bill adding 0.3 percentage points to GDP growth in 2018 and 2019 while JP Morgan forecasts a similar gain of 0.3 percentage points next year and 0.2 percentage points the year after.
Goldman’s analysts add that federal spending, which is likely to grow more quickly next year than it has recently, will bring the total fiscal boost to around 0.6 percentage points for 2018 and 0.4 percentage points in 2019.
Both banks see deficits likely rising above $1 trillion, or about 5 percent of GDP, in 2019.