Medicaid Expanded To Include Preventative Dental Care
On July 1st, Governor Chris Sununu signed House Bill (HB)-103 and Senate Bill (SB)-422 into law. This action is a major step forward when it comes to giving adults who are under New Hampshire’s Medicaid program access to coverage for dental care. Individuals with developmental and other disabilities, parents, family members, caregivers and advocacy groups throughout our state have been showcasing the importance of regular preventative dental care for years by highlighting the relationship between oral health and overall health, and educating people on the ways the mouth impacts a person physically, mentally, and socially.
“This is something – when we talk about dental benefits, when we talk about Medicaid – something that this state has been talking about for a long time. A lot longer since I have even been governor,” said Governor Sununu earlier this month.
Senator Cindy Rosenwald (D-Nashua), who was a prime sponsor on SB-422, said, “This is just a huge, huge day for New Hampshire and a very big bipartisan solution to a problem we’ve all long recognized.”
Katie Phillips, a New Hampshire resident who experiences a disability, said, “This topic is important to me because I have not been able to find a dentist that takes my insurance.” She is ready to see more dentists accept it so NH adults under Medicaid can receive the care they deserve.
This expanded version of Medicaid will give adults (ages 21+) more access to x-rays and examinations, cleanings, fillings, limited gum-related treatments, and other appropriate general services such as anesthesia. Also available will be removable partial or full dentures for those who qualify for services under the Developmental Disability (DD) Waiver, Acquired Brain Disorder (ABD) Waiver, Choices for Independence (CFI) Waiver, and nursing facility residents. Also available will be a $1,500 yearly limit on dental services, with the exception of preventative services, and transportation to dental appointments and support for oral health through care coordination.
According to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NH DHHS), diagnostic and preventative dental services do not have cost sharing. Other covered dental services have cost sharing for people with household income over 100% of the federal poverty level.
NH-DHHS is currently working through the contracting process to choose a dental benefit administrator(s) to contract with the state and get dentists on board with this change.
The adult dental benefit will go into effect on April 1st, 2023. Throughout the next several months, there will be many important updates about this law. To stay up-to-date about this change, visit the NH DHHS web page: https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/programs-services/medicaid and follow pages on Facebook such as Partnership For Public Health and ABLE-NH.