Monthly Archives: December 2013

Dental benefits and the Affordable Care Act

More than 8.5 million U.S. children are expected to receive dental coverage as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) within five years.

However, only one of five Americans know that children’s dental services are one of the 10 “essential health benefits” included in the health reform law, according to a recent survey by the Children’s Dental Health Project.

Coverage for children’s dental services continues to be available through the Medicaid program, including programs that existed prior to the ACA.

Informing Medicaid-eligible families of the new dental benefit, and stressing that dental health as an essential part of one’s overall health, remains a community-wide challenge.

In Pierce County, numerous groups, including PCOHC member organizations, are working to educate and assist residents apply for medical and dental benefits through the state-run web site called the Washington Healthplanfinder.  Given the results from the national survey, local advocates and dental professionals still face hurdles sharing news about the ACA’s oral health coverage for children and the importance of utilizing those benefits to improve oral health community-wide.

Celebrating 2013

Member of the Pierce County Oral Health Coalition held their December meeting by celebrating the holidays at Olive Garden on Dec. 11. What a great looking group.

Member of the Pierce County Oral Health Coalition held their December meeting by celebrating the holidays at Olive Garden on Dec. 11. What a great looking group.

PCOHC members celebrated the culmination of another year of collaboration at our annual lunch and gift exchange.

Participating in the merry making were members from Bates College Dental Assisting Program, Bethel School District / Early Childhood & Preschool Program, Lindquist Dental Clinic for Children, Pierce County Dental Society, Puyallup Tribal Health Authority, SeaMar Community Health Care and the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. We thanked Denise Goudelock for her many wonderful years of service and dedication as PCOHC’s secretary.

Wishes to all for a Healthy and Happy Holiday season!

Oral health procedures to be covered by adult dental Medicaid starting in January

State health officials have released additional information concerning dental procedures that will be covered for Medicaid-eligible adults in Washington state, starting on Jan. 1, 2014.

An update on those procedures was recently shared at November meeting of the Washington Coalition on Medicaid Outreach by Dianne Baum, dental program manager for the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA). The covered procedures include exams, X-rays, cleanings, fluoride varnish, fillings, periodontal care, root canals, dentures, extractions, and emergency services. Crowns will not be covered.

See the presentation for more details and the HCA’s news release from Oct. 10, 2013.

Starting in January, the Washington Medicaid Program will resume covering dental services for all adults with Medicaid. This includes residents who already have Medicaid and people who are eligible for “expanded Medicaid,” made possible by federal health care reform.

State-wide program leads country helping low-income children

ABCD LogoKudos to Washington state. The Washington Dental Service Foundation (WDSF) reports the state has been recognized as a national leader in providing preventive dental care to young children from low-income families.

Statewide more than 54 percent of Medicaid-enrolled children under age 6 are currently receiving dental care, according to an announcement on Nov. 21, by the WDSF. The number of children accessing care has increased dramatically in large part because of the Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD) Program, which was recently expanded to every county in the state.

The ABCD Program has been serving children in Pierce County since 2005. More information about the ABCD Program in Pierce County can be found on the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department web site.