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.
Top Reads from The Fiscal Times:
- America’s 10 Top Selling Medications
- Medicare’s Bold New Move on Knee and Hip Replacements
- 9 Social Security Tips You Need to Know Right Now
The Tax Policy Center’s Daily Deduction reports that Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), chair of the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday introduced The Jobs and Opportunity with Benefits and Services (JOBS) for Success Act (H.R. 5861). “The bill would rename the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and target benefits to the lowest-income households. Although the House GOP leadership promised to include an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit as part of an upcoming welfare reform bill, this measure does not appear to include any EITC provisions.” The committee will mark up the bill on Wednesday.
The GOP tax cuts expanded an exemption for the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) and changed tax breaks that often triggered the tax. As a result, The Wall Street Journal’s Laura Saunders reports, “This year’s AMT is a shadow of its former self. It is expected to raise about $5 billion for 2018, down from an estimated $39 billion under prior law, according to the Tax Policy Center.” The AMT will likely hit some 200,000 tax filers for 2018, down from roughly 5 million who would have had to pay if the tax cuts hadn’t been passed. And the number of people making $500,000 or less who owe the AMT will fall to about 120,000 this year from 4 million last year, a Tax Policy Center economist tells the Journal.
The Trump administration is proposing a rule that would withhold federal Title X family-planning funding from any facility or program that provides abortions or refers patients to abortion clinics. The proposal is based on a Reagan-era rule that required physical and financial separation between taxpayer-funded operations and any abortion services. It would effectively cut off millions of dollars of funding to Planned Parenthood, which receives $50 million to $60 million in Title X funds and which services an estimated 41 percent of the 4 million patients who receive care through Title X, according to The Washington Post.
Politico’s Jennifer Haberkorn reports that, after four election cycles of ducking, dodging and tiptoeing around Obamacare, Democrats this time around have “a unified message blaming Republicans for ‘sabotaging’ the health care law, leading to a cascade of sky-high insurance premiums that will come just before the November midterm elections. They’re rolling out ads featuring people helped by the law. And Tuesday, they’re starting a campaign to amplify each state’s premium increases — and tie those to GOP decisions.” Democrats are also focusing on rising health care costs, projected Obamacare premium spikes and prescription drug prices, looking to hang those increases on the GOP.