New program gives some with Medicaid partial dental coverage

BALTIMORE (AP) — A dental insurance pilot program in Maryland has launched for certain Medicaid recipients and pays to remove teeth but not replace them.

The Baltimore Sun reports the Maryland Department of Health has budgeted $4.2 million for the program’s first year.

About 33,000 adults with a disability and limited income are eligible. If all eligible adults used the maximum benefit, the state estimates it would cost $26 million.

Dentists say participants could receive two oral exams, two cleanings and up to five cavity filings or tooth extractions in a year with the program.

Maryland Dental Action Coalition Executive Director Mary Backley says the group wanted more coverage but the pilot program is an important step.

The goal is to cut costs to Medicaid by providing preventative, diagnostic and restorative services.

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Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com

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