Governor Bevin released the Kentucky HEALTH proposal, aimed at modifying Kentucky’s Medicaid program, on June 22. The proposed changes will eliminate adult Medicaid dental coverage from the standard benefits package. KOHC’s executive committee and members firmly believe the inclusion of dental coverage should not be an earned benefit, but rather a key component in the standard benefits package. By including dental coverage, Kentuckians will ultimately have better oral health and health outcomes!
Take action and read KOHC’s public comments here.
Key KOHC Messages:
- If the Kentucky HEALTH proposal is implemented, many Kentucky adults will completely lose their dental coverage.
- Currently, Medicaid adults have limited preventative and restorative dental coverage, which includes: exams, cleanings, x-rays, and fillings.
- Kentucky is second in the nation in the incidence of oral and throat cancers.
- Kentucky is fifth highest in the U.S. for adults 65 or older who have had all their natural teeth extracted.
- Given our historic issues with poor oral health in Kentucky, we cannot afford to move backward.
- Routine preventive dental visits can lead to early detection of chronic diseases that display symptoms in the mouth.
- Untreated tooth decay and gum disease are directly linked to chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and many others.
- The mouth is part of the whole body — it doesn’t make sense to separate it from the rest of the body.
- When adults cannot access needed health care, including dental, they will be less likely to seek health services for their children, even if Medicaid or KCHIP covers the services.
- Loss of dental coverage will lead to an increase in Emergency Room (ER) visits to get immediate relief, but will not treat the underlying dental issue.
- Trips to the ER for dental-related conditions are expensive and often preventable through routine trips to the dentist.
- Dental-related ER care is at least 3 times as expensive as a dental visit.
- ER visits for dental care may result in reoccurring infection, leading to costlier emergency room visits.
The Bevin Administration Needs to Hear from You!
The federal government requires Kentuckians to have an opportunity to comment on these changes proposed by the Bevin Administration, and the Administration must submit responses to the comments as part of its application.
State officials need to hear from you. If you are concerned about the impact that Kentucky HEALTH could have on your families or your coverage, advocate for individuals who receive Medicaid benefits, or want Kentucky to continue making progress in oral health coverage and outcomes, attend a public hearing or submit your comments via mail or email.
The public comments has been extended to 11:59 PM on Sunday, August 14.
Submit written comments to Commissioner Stephen Miller, Department for Medicaid Services, 275 E. Main Street, Frankfort, KY 40621.
Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about Kentucky HEALTH at chfs.ky.gov/dms/kh.