Medicaid cutbacks take a toll; W.Va. wary of third-party administrators

Dear DrBicuspid Member,

From one side of the U.S. to the other, adult dental benefits are being eyed for reduction or elimination as states struggle with the ongoing effects of the recession and burgeoning enrollment in Medicaid.

Medicaid enrollment grew by 8.5% in fiscal year 2010, and while states got $87 billion in economic stimulus funds to help cope, they were also barred from placing new limits on eligibility, according to a 50-state survey of Medicaid budgets released September 30 by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. The result has been extreme cutbacks in adult dental services and other optional benefits in most -- but not all -- states. Read more in this latest Practice Management Community feature.

An example of how some states are struggling to meet the growing need for Medicaid services can be found in West Virginia. The state dental association says that letting HMOs and third-party administrators run the Medicaid dental program means less money for actual dental care. But state officials maintain that this approach can ensure that patients get a higher quality of care.

In the meantime, not enough dentists have signed onto the plan, which has now been delayed as a result. Is there a better way to ensure that Medicaid patients get the care they need? Read more.

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