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Wednesday, 26 March 2014 11:16

Over 8 million adults to gain dental benefits. A burden or an opportunity? Featured

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post86 picWith the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) approximately 8.3 million adults will gain dental Medicaid benefits in 2014. 

This is the result of increased Medicaid eligibility and states either expanding adult dental care or adding it for the first time. 

The ADA’s Health Policy Resources Center recently published a research brief outlining the impact. 

I encourage you to follow the link, above, and read the report.  Here are a few highlights.

  

 

 

• This graphic was provided showing the breakdown of how Americans get their healthcare coverage:
 

                           Source:  The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
                 http://kff.org/other/state-indicator/total-population/

Note that Medicaid is relied on for 17% of the people in the U.S.

• Adult dental Medicaid benefits vary drastically from state to state.  This is the result of the federal government making it an optional service in 2002.  Some states (Oregon) have continued to offer it while other states (Delaware) do not offer it at all.
• ObamaCare attempted to standardize Medicaid coverage for all low-income, non-elderly adults.  The Supreme Court then ruled that expanding Medicaid benefits would be optional for each state; however states choosing to expand get it financed through the Feds from 2014 to 2016.  So it still is and will be a mixed bag.  A nice graphic and table are provided in the ADA report depicting the state-by-state affect.
• If your state provides adult dental benefits at all, you should expect the numbers to swell because general Medicaid eligibility has been expanded to those making as much as 133% of the federal poverty level.  It is this expansion that will add 8 million with dental benefits or expanded benefits.
• Medicaid enrollment will also increase due to what is termed as the “woodwork effect”.  This is a phenomenon that occurs when an expansion of a public program takes place and individuals who were already eligible for the program, but had previously not enrolled, choose to sign up.

So, will this influx of adults with new Medicaid dental benefits be an opportunity or a burden for your dental practice?  If you refuse or limit the number of Medicaid patients that you see and most of your colleagues do the same, access issues will arise.  If this happens expect some kind of intervention from the state or the federal government.  This will likely take the form of either a carrot or a stick. 

I encourage you to read the report and am providing that link again.
http://www.ada.org/sections/professionalResources/pdfs/HPRCBrief_0214_1.pdf

Reconsidering your approach to new Medicaid patients would be a right click for 2014.

Read 5442 times Last modified on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 12:50
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