New tool launched to assess the extent of Medicaid dental coverage for adults – InsuranceNewsNet

The Medicaid Adult Dental Coverage Checker categorizes benefits to identify potential areas of improvement

CareQuest Institute for Oral Health®, in partnership with the Health Policy Institute of the American Dental Association (ADA)., Center for Health Care Strategies, Inc.and the National Academy for Public Health Policy (NASHP), announced the release of an innovative new resource to better assess and understand the scope of dental care for Medicaid adults in each state.

This press release is multimedia. View the full press release here:

The Medicaid Adult Dental Coverage Checker is an interactive tool for policymakers, administrators, and advocates to easily understand where a given state’s Medicaid adult dental coverage package falls on a continuum from no dental coverage to extensive coverage, while doing so helps identify areas for improvement and expansion.

“The lack of dental insurance is a driving factor in large health disparities that exist in underserved and marginalized communities,” he said Myechia Minter-JordanMD, MBA, President and CEO of CareQuest Institute for Oral Health. “Recent research has shown that increasing dental coverage is a policy lever that can make a difference in more equitable access to dental care. We hope this new tool will raise awareness among administrators, policymakers, and advocates so they can develop and strengthen Medicaid dental services that meet the oral health needs of millions of adults across the country who currently do not have access to this critical care . ”

Four leading oral health and public health policy organizations have developed this new coverage checker to help stakeholders gain a deeper understanding of current benefits and clear guidance on how to improve coverage. The organizations first created an updated, evidence-based definition of a comprehensive adult Medicaid dental service and then developed a consensus-based assessment survey conducted by state dental directors to collect detailed information about adult dental services provided by the Medicaid program in each State are offered.

“The Coverage Checker allows us to rate Medicaid programs based on very specific types of dental services covered by the program and annual dollar limits. This is a major step forward in understanding the oral health policy landscape,” he said Marko VujicicPhD, Chief Economist and Vice President of ADA Health Policy Institute.

The Coverage Checker examines the coverage of specific procedures and services, including allowable frequencies, in eight benefit categories that are most commonly reimbursed by employer-based dental benefit plans and are critical to maintaining oral health throughout life.

“Oral health is critical to overall health, and there are significant disparities for those who do not have access to dental services,” he said Hemi Tewarson, President and Executive Director of NASHP. “This tool provides a more complete picture of dental care across the country and provides world leaders with data to inform policy making and innovation.”

Medicaid is a major source of health care for more than 80 million people in The United States. Although states are required to provide comprehensive children’s dental coverage covered by Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), dental coverage for adult Medicaid beneficiaries is optional for states.

While most states provide at least emergency dental benefits (defined differently by state) for adults, nearly one-third of all states do not provide dental care beyond emergency procedures. 77 million US adults do not have dental insurance, according to new data from the CareQuest Institute’s second annual Oral Health Equity Survey in America.

Current Studies demonstrate the following benefits of comprehensive Medicaid coverage:

  • Improved access to dental care can lead to lower health care costs for people who are pregnant or have chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

  • Dental care significantly reduces costly emergency room (ED) visits for dental conditions. Estimated cost of dental emergency room visits nationwide $2.1 billion per year, but nearly 79% of those visits could have been treated in a dental office, allowing for savings of up to $1.7 billion per year.

  • Children whose parents have Medicaid dental insurance were more likely to have had a visit to the dentist in the past year and were less likely to have had delayed dental work.

  • Adults receiving Medicaid dental care report improved oral health and employability.

Visit the CareQuest Institute Website to access the new Coverage Checker.

Around CareQuest Institute for Oral Health®

The CareQuest Institute for Oral Health® is a national nonprofit dedicated to building a more equitable future where everyone can reach their full potential through excellent health. We do this through our work in scholarship, research, health improvement programs, policy and advocacy, and education, as well as through our leadership in dental performance and advances in innovation. We work with thought leaders, healthcare providers, patients, and local, state, and federal stakeholders to accelerate oral health transformation and create a system designed for everyone. To learn more, visit and follow us TwitterLinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

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Direct media inquiries to:Sarah Ward
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Source: CareQuest Institute for Oral Health

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