Pennsylvania Considers Reinstating Dental Benefits to Medicaid
Advocates and oral health professionals in Pennsylvania are optimistic about a state House bill that aims to reinstate dental services for adults with Medicaid coverage. The legislation, passed by the House in a bipartisan vote, seeks to address the significant limitations imposed on adult dental benefits in 2011 as a cost-saving measure. The Pennsylvania Coalition for Oral Health has been actively advocating for this change, highlighting the potential benefits for both patients and oral health professionals. The existing Medicaid coverage for adults in Pennsylvania is limited to routine exams, prophylaxes, and basic restorative care, with restrictions on more extensive procedures. Advocates argue that oral health is integral to systemic health, and neglecting dental problems can lead to more severe medical issues. Oral health professionals supporting the legislation stress the impact of low reimbursement rates and reduced benefits, resulting in fewer practitioners accepting Medicaid, making it challenging for patients to access care. The bill, now in the state Senate, faces scrutiny before the Human Services Committee, with hopes that reinstating coverage will not only improve patient care but also contribute to long-term cost savings by focusing on preventive care. The estimated annual cost of restoring coverage is $155 million, with $40 million from state funds and a $115 million federal match. Click here to read more.