Colo. OKs more dental care for Medicaid patients

Colorado lawmakers have approved new measures aimed at improving oral health for adults and children.

The legislators pointed to the potential for significant cost savings in addressing prevention, according to the Children's Dental Health Project.

The measures include the following:

  • Limited dental benefits for adults covered by Medicaid that will go into effect in 2014, along with expansion of Medicaid eligibility to all adults under 133% of the federal poverty level (SB 13-242)
  • Medicaid reimbursement for oral health risk assessment and fluoride varnish services provided by primary care providers to school-aged children
  • A Medicaid reimbursement fee increase of 4.5% for dental services for most provider types, with a 2% increase for federally qualified health centers

Fewer than half of Medicaid programs in the U.S. reimburse for adult dental services beyond emergency care. In Colorado, adults eligible for preventive care will include pregnant women.

The Colorado legislature also authorized a new Oral Health Community Grants Program for initiatives to prevent tooth decay (SB 13-261).

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