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New Senate bill provides low-cost dental coverage to veterans


Veterans often struggle to get quality healthcare and dental coverage, but a new bill passed by the Senate aims to rectify that.

Veterans often struggle to get quality healthcare and dental coverage, but a new bill passed by the Senate aims to rectify that.

Sponsored by Sen. Richard Burr from North Carolina and cosponsored by Montana’s John Tester, the VA Dental Insurance Reauthorization Act of 2016 will increase dental coverage options for veterans, by extending the dental insurance pilot program established in 2014.

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The pilot program, which has provided dental care access to eligible veterans and dependents, was set to end in 2017, potentially leaving tens of thousands of veterans and their families without dental care. The new legislation transitions the dental care program into a statutory program.

Through the program, veterans can purchase low-cost dental coverage from private insurers, including Delta Dental and Metlife. This is important, as the VA only provides dental care to a few classes of veterans: those that are 100 percent disabled, former POWs and veterans who have a “service connected dental disability or condition;” leaving many veterans without access to VA dental care. Veterans who are eligible for dental care through the VA can continue to do so and are not affected by the program.

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Making sure veterans have dental care is the right thing to do,” says Senator Burr. “The veterans’ dental insurance pilot program has a track record of success and it is time to open it up to all veterans. Medical professionals have long known that proper dental care is linked to better overall health. I am pleased the Senate has recognized the value of this dental benefit for veterans and has passed my bill.”

The full legislation can be found here. For a one-page summary of the bill, click here.

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