Virginia launches adult Medicaid dental benefits to more than 750,000

Virginia

In this Wednesday, May 13, 2020 photo, dentist Sabrine Jendoubi, left, and her dental assistant Margot Daussat inspect the teeth of patient Veronique Guillot, during a dental appointment, at a dental office in Paris. Those with toothache that suffered through France’s two-month lockdown, finally have hope to end the pain. Dental practices are cautiously re-opening and non-emergency dentist appointments are now permitted around the country, as the French government eased confinement restrictions from Monday. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — On Thursday, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Virginia is expanding comprehensive dental benefits to more than 750,000 adult Medicaid members effective immediately.

Children and pregnant individuals enrolled in Medicaid, Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS) and FAMIS MOMS were previously eligible to receive dental care.

“Oral health is an integral part of overall health, well-being, and quality of life,” said Governor Northam. “This historic expansion of services will ensure that adult Medicaid members across our Commonwealth have access to the quality dental care they deserve. I am proud of the bipartisan support and strong collaboration we have received from dentists and health care advocates that helped us reach this significant milestone.”

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that it is part of a two-year state budget that includes $35 million in state and federal funds to provide a range of dental care to adults for the first time.

New benefit cover up to three regular cleanings annually as well as preventive care, X-rays, fillings, dentures, oral surgeries.

“With this new benefit, Virginians will have access to true wellness,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey, MD, MHCM. “I am grateful to the dental community, the General Assembly, and the Department for Medical Assistance Services for all of their work to make this happen. Together, we can make Virginia the healthiest state in the country.”

The change will likely mean a significant jump in demand for dentists and about 1,500 dentists have committed to serving adults under the Medicaid benefit.

“When we expanded Medicaid eligibility in 2019, our new members identified dental services as a top need,” said DMAS Director Karen Kimsey. “With more than 562,000 new members as a result of Medicaid expansion, we appreciate the support of Virginia dentists in helping us meet the tremendous need we know exists in our Commonwealth for oral health care.”

Medicaid members can contact a DentaQuest representative at 1-888-912-3456 to find a dentist and learn more about the new dental benefit

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