U.S. bill aims to expand dental coverage for moms

By DrBicuspid.com staff writers

March 4, 2021 -- Lawmakers in the U.S. introduced a bill on March 3 that aims to expand dental coverage and improve oral health for pregnant and postpartum women, as well as address racial disparities.

The Oral Health for Moms Act would require Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to cover dental healthcare -- including preventive care and basic, major, and emergency dental services -- for expecting and postpartum women, according to a statement from Sen. Debbie Stabenow's office. It is sponsored by Stabenow (D-MI) and Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Cory Booker (D-NJ).

Despite poor oral health being linked to worse maternal outcomes, state Medicaid programs currently make pregnancy-related dental coverage optional. This makes it difficult for many women, and especially marginalized women, to afford oral healthcare, the senators noted.

If the bill becomes law, oral health services would be deemed an essential health benefit for women who receive coverage through health insurance marketplaces and individual and small group markets in the U.S. Also, federally qualified health centers would receive grants to provide dental services.

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