Oral health is essential to overall health and well-being. However, many adults who use Medicaid benefits find that there is little, if any, coverage for dental care, and they are unable to afford basic dental care on their own.
Without a federal requirement, and given the competing priorities for state budgets, the optional adult dental benefit is often not provided by states or is very limited. Currently, only about half of the states provide comprehensive adult dental coverage to their Medicaid enrollees.
Ensuring that states provide comprehensive dental services for adult Medicaid beneficiaries is a sound economic investment. Research from the ADA’s Health Policy Institute shows that across the states that currently do not provide comprehensive dental coverage, the net cost of providing extensive adult dental benefits is $836 million per year. This includes an estimated $1.1 billion per year in dental care costs and $273 million per year in medical care savings.
We are also working to remove barriers for dentists who want to participate in the Medicaid program, specifically by making it easier for dentists to become credentialed Medicaid providers and ensuring fair Medicaid audits performed by a dentist from the same specialty and based on guidelines from the ADA and other dental organizations.
We are asking you to request your members of Congress support our efforts to improve adults’ access to Medicaid dental benefits.