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Organized dentistry thanks lawmakers for bill calling for CHIP improvements

Bill would also expand dental services for low-income pregnant women

March 29, 2021

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The Organized Dentistry Coalition is supporting new legislation to improve oral health care for children and low-income pregnant women.

In a March 23 letter to Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., the coalition, led by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, thanked the lawmakers for introducing S 448, the Ensuring Kids Have Access to Medically Necessary Dental Care Act.

“As you know, the Children’s Health Insurance Program provides health coverage to nearly 10 million children nationwide, through both Medicaid and separate CHIP programs,” they wrote.

If enacted, the bill would:

• Eliminate annual and lifetime dollar limits for dental services provided under CHIP, including dental services provided to low-income pregnant women.

• Require that CHIP wraparound dental coverage be the same as dental coverage for CHIP enrollees. This means that states would be required to provide dental-only coverage to children who would otherwise be eligible for CHIP but for the fact that they are covered under a group health plan or employer-sponsored insurance.

“Our organizations strongly support this legislation and look forward to working with you to secure its passage,” the letter concluded. “Your ongoing leadership and championing of oral health issues, such as improving CHIP, is making a tremendous difference to improve the nation’s oral health.”

Follow all of the ADA’s advocacy efforts at ADA.org/advocacy.