States have great latitude to determine the scope of dental benefits that they will cover for adults through their Medicaid programs. While some states cover comprehensive benefits, others cover emergency dental care only or none at all. This variation in coverage matters. Without adequate dental coverage, people face major barriers to getting care they need to stay healthy. To better understand the consequences of insufficient dental coverage, Families USA conducted a survey of states that cover emergency-only dental services.
As part of their tax obligation to provide benefits to the community beyond hospital care, nonprofit hospitals can fund oral health initiatives such as community dental clinics, mobile dental services, vouchers for dental care and oral health advocacy coalitions in the communities they serve. In this issue brief we explain how to advocate for such initiatives.
Millions of people in this country face significant barriers to obtaining the basic dental care they need to achieve good oral health. As a result, more than half of people in the U.S. go without any dental care each year, and many struggle with untreated dental disease that can have far-reaching, serious effects on their overall health.