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Dental and Vison Insurance for Seniors

Updated on December 1, 2016
jackclee lm profile image

Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Jack has worked at IBM for over 28 years on museums and libraries.

Introduction

I turned 65 this year and qualified for Medicare. I was under the false impression that all my healthcare insurance will be provided by our government. To my surprise and shock, I learned that there are no dental and vision plans. These must be obtained privately.

- Nov. 2016

Why Is This not the Focus of Washington?

I have worked a long career in the private sector. I always had good health insurance through my employer. When I retire, I was told the government Medicare will take care of my needs.

Imagine my surprise when I turned 65 this year and actually applied for Medicare. As it turned out, the basic part of Medicare is not that great. You must pay for additional coverage to reduce your liabilities when you get sick. You also have to pay drug prescription coverage (Plan D). Finally, the surprise is there is no Dental or Vision coverage. Why?

It seems to me, when you get old, you will need dental care and vision correction even more than when you are young.

Call to Action

I am proposing a call to action. We should write to our Congressmen and Senators. When they repeal the ACA, make sure they consider adding Dental and Vision coverage for seniors.

Promises...

Summary

I am a conservative and have always supported a limited government. Our Constitution is very clear. The federal government have enumerated powers. However, if we are to have a well cared for citizens, and have provided Social Security benefits for our seniors, and Medicare for their healthcare, it seems to me, the natural extension of these plans should include Dental and Vision.

I would have preferred a more local approach at the State level to deal with some of these issues. That is not where our country is at. If we are to have a national discussion on healthcare, let's include the whole package. It is just common sense.

© 2016 Jack Lee

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    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 12 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Lakoto, sorry to hear your personal story. I think seniors do have power over our government no less than any other citizen. We vote in bigger numbers than most other groups.

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      Lakoto T 12 months ago

      Thank you for your article and all the comments.

      I only have one point to make. Senior citizens of all generations and ages built this country, BUT remain the forgotten generation. We always have been. Look at our society throughout the ages in America. Some other cultures cast out their seniors. Some honor them.

      Contacting law makers of any party won't change these things. We have lost out BUYING power and are therefore unimportant. Decadent healthcare is something our society gives a gives low priority to. Look at mental health care. Pretty much still considered a taboo..

      Seniors need dental and vision care now more than ever because of the natural aging processes. Both dental and vision care are extremely expensive that's why my dentures don't and will never fit because I can't afford them. Dental insurance is one big joke!

      I see spots and light flashes before my eyes. The ophthalmologist says HE doesn't see anything and says just to "GET USED TO IT". My dentist has the same philosophy. When your own health care providers don't care, why should society??

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 12 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Ron, the ACA as written by Gruber and others were designed to fail. Obama wanted a single payer system but it was un atainable even with Democrats. The thinking was to create an interim system that was so convoluted that it would fail in due time. By then, the system would be so entrenched that the fed. Government would have to take it over lock stock and barrel. The Conservatives had alternative proposals which was rejected by Obama from the outset. He told them elections had consequences... Instead of working out a compromise, he forced it down without a single GOP vote. The reason the ACA failed is economics 101. You can't expect to add 20 million to the insured without increased cost. These exchanges were setup with federal subsidies. Once the subsidies went away, they could not be profitable and many closed as a result. The other problem with the ACA is the job killer provision. By stipulating a 50 employee limit and a 30 hour work week, they force many small business to cut back hiring and reducing worker hours. That is why the economy did not recover as quickly... I can go into more details but you are too blinded to see any alternatives. The lesson of the ACA is that you can't lie to the American people to get your way. Sooner or later, it will catch up with you.

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 12 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      Jack, if conservatives/Republicans have an alternative to the ACA, it has remained invisible. Some outlines have been proposed, by Paul Ryan for example, but nothing that (1) is in the detail needed if it is to be the basis of real legislation, (2) meets the need, and (3) Republicans can agree upon among themselves. Before the ACA, the GOP showed zero interest in the plight of people without insurance. Once Obama's name was attached to the proposal first put forward by the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation, and implemented in Mass. by Mitt Romney, the GOP did everything in its power to block and then repeal it without having any definite, agreed-upon plan to replace it. If Obama had not pushed the ACA through, it's absolutely clear the GOP would have done nothing to help people too poor to afford insurance.

      The ACA has not failed (the percentage of uninsured is down to 11.4% from a high of 18%), but like any other law, it needs to be adjusted in light of conditions that could not be anticipated when it was passed. The GOP has refused to allow that to happen. So, of course there are problems that in any reasonable political climate would have been corrected already.

      Expanding Medicaid was part of the ACA. When the SCOTUS struck down the provision that made it mandatory for all states, GOP-controlled states refused expansion, even though it would be funded almost totally by the federal government. The result was that millions of people in those states remain without access to health care for no other reason than the ideology of GOP politicians. The idea that they will now expand Medicaid because Obama's name won't be on it is, I suppose, possible, but IMO not likely.

      In the end, I see no reason to believe that Republicans will do anything more than the absolute minimum they think politically necessary to provide healthcare for people who don't have it. And in a national government totally controlled by Republicans, the poor have no advocates that can stand in the way of the GOP pursuing their idea of limited government at the expense of those who will be devastated by it.

    • FitnezzJim profile image

      FitnezzJim 12 months ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

      I've been looking into purchasing better dental and vision, and am 'ok' with the need to purchase rather than be provided for.

      I do agree with jacklee that any laws about this would be better governed by the states or localities, with the federal involvement perhaps limited to requiring the states to have 'something' workable for their people, and the federal oversight limited to comparison of programs offered or comparison of laws implemented.

      The trouble with too much federal involvement is that feds have a tendency to get promoted on the basis of how many people work for them, regardless of their effectiveness. The result is that they are more likely to be rewarded for instituting inefficient or unproven methods, and instead rewarded for instituting academically attractive but impractical methods.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 12 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Ron, I am glad you ask. It is not inconsistent at all. We conservatives always had an alternative proposal to the ACA. Since it was forced upon us by the Democratic controlled Congress, it has since proved to be a failure. I hope the new Administration will propose a repeal and replace bill that will cover more Americans but will be a more competitive insurance environment where people can choose the type of coverage they want and can afford and not the one size fit all approach of The ACA.

      For those that can't afford health insurance, perhaps a better solution is to expand the current Medicaid program. This will be the best of both world don't you think?

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 12 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      Jack, on your basic premise that seniors should have dental and eye care provided, I agree. But I'm having trouble understanding how someone who wants to see Obamacare repealed can advocate for this.

      Under the ACA about 16.4 million Americans got healthcare they otherwise would not have. Repealing the ACA would deprive them of any health coverage at all. How is it intellectually consistent - or morally defensible - to want to take away the government assistance that provides all the healthcare millions of our fellow citizens have, while asking that same government to extend even further the healthcare others, already more privileged, receive?

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      Howard Schneider 12 months ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      I believe that you are absolutely right, Jack. My Mom has supplemental insurance through her union but most people do not. Our seniors, and I will soon be there, cannot afford this at their most vulnerable time in their lives. Excellent Hub.