Fla. to study dental care in revamped Medicaid program

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has signed a bill that will study possible changes to the way Medicaid recipients receive dental care in that state.

Currently, the state's Medicaid managed-care system requires HMOs to cover dental services. Now that the bill (HB 819) has been signed into law, Florida's Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability will conduct a study to determine if services could be better provided by separate prepaid dental plans ("carving out" the services), according to the bill. The report from this study must be submitted by December 1, 2016.

Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration will proceed with a prepaid dental program if action is not taken during the 2017 legislative session to keep dental services in the Medicaid managed-care program, according to a News Service of Florida article.

The Florida Dental Association supported the bill, which was opposed by the Florida Association of Health Plans. In a letter to Florida's secretary of state, Scott expressed concern that Medicaid recipients be protected.

"While I am giving my approval to this bill today, if the results of the study do not demonstrate better quality dental care at reduced costs than the net benefits provided under statewide Medicaid managed care today, I expect the 2017 Legislature to amend the statute immediately to protect Medicaid recipients and the services they receive through statewide Medicaid managed care," Scott wrote.

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