New Maryland Dental Insurance Small But Important Step Forward for Coverage

DentistThis year Maryland launched the Adult Dental Pilot Program which provides a basic dental insurance package to certain individuals between the ages of 21 and 64 that are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.

An article in The Baltimore Sun explores what the pilot program means to the thousands of individuals in Maryland that do not have dental coverage and what additional pieces are needed to expand the program’s reach over individuals still in need and the services still in demand, including teeth replacement.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

Maryland is one of just 15 states that does not cover dental care for adults on Medicaid, the government health insurance program for low-income people…About 33,000 are eligible for the Adult Dental Pilot Program, the first time in nearly 50 years that some adults on Medicaid in Maryland will have basic dental coverage.

Those eligible represent less than 3% of the roughly 1.4 million adults on Medicaid in Maryland — and the pilot actually doesn’t have enough money should everyone eligible seek dental care.

Dental issues have been an important area for action with officials trying to tackle the issue from several fronts. The bill creating the Adult Dental Pilot Program passed in the 2018 session and the federal CMS waiver allowing the program to move forward was approved this March.

In the 2019 session, a bill sponsored by Delegate Mike McKay was passed into law creating a grant program where counties and nonprofits can be awarded capital funds to help establish free or low-cost dental clinics in their communities.

MACo supported the bill as counties have a vested interest in the public health of their communities. As reported in the Sun article, ensuring people — especially those who are uninsured or underinsured — have access to affordable dental health care is a difficult and expensive issue for governments to address.

For more information:

Maryland’s new dental insurance program for low-income residents pays to remove teeth — but not replace them (The Baltimore Sun)