Dentists Raise Concerns Over Effects of Reduced Medi-Cal Benefits
Dentists are raising concerns that the state's reduction in dental benefits for about 3 million Medi-Cal beneficiaries has led many patients to wait until their conditions significantly worsen to seek dental care, the Los Angeles Times reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
Under the federal Medicaid program, dental coverage is an optional benefit. Several state Medicaid programs do not offer dental coverage, while other states -- including California -- have significantly reduced dental benefits in recent years.
Medi-Cal still covers necessary extractions for adults, but the program does not cover X-rays, cleaning, fillings, root canals or dentures, according to dentists.
Children still are eligible for dental coverage under Medi-Cal, but some parents report difficulty finding dentists who accept Medi-Cal coverage.
As a result of reduced Medi-Cal benefits, dentists say patients are waiting until infections worsen and require an emergency department visit.
Medi-Cal does not cover toothÂ repairs or replacements for adults. Dentists say the policy can affect patients' physical appearance, chances of finding employment and risk for contracting gum diseases (Gorman, Los Angeles Times, 9/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.