How Congress Could Expand Medicare Benefits to Cover Dental, Hearing and Vision

Democrats have included the proposal for the new benefits in their budget reconciliation bill. They also want to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.

A dentist speaks with a patient.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Democrats are trying to get their massive budget reconciliation bill passed, a process that has met with resistance from members of their own party. That means they will likely need to cut some of the bill's proposals to shrink the overall package. For now expanding original Medicare so that it covers dental, hearing and vision care and allowing the government to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs remain in the package but it is uncertain if these proposals will be in the final bill.

Many Medicare Advantage plans, which private insurers offer, include hearing, dental and vision benefits already, but original Medicare does not. "This is an historic opportunity to meaningfully expand benefits to all in Medicare and not just those in a private plan," says David Lipschutz, associate director at the Center for Medicare Advocacy in Washington, D.C.

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Senior Retirement Editor,

Jackie Stewart is the senior retirement editor for and the senior editor for Kiplinger's Retirement Report.