MACPAC Discusses Dental Benefits in Medicaid

  • by AGD Washington Advocacy Representative
  • May 2, 2023
On April 13–14, 2023, the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) held its April Public Meeting, including a session entitled, Access to Covered Dental Benefits for Adult Medicaid Beneficiaries: Panel Discussion. MACPAC staff provided an overview of the current landscape of dental coverage for adults enrolled in Medicaid. Panelists representing state Medicaid programs and an industry trade association then discussed their experiences analyzing and developing state dental care benefits and shared their recommendations for how dental benefits can be expanded going forward. Panelists particularly described the importance of oral health care access for all Americans, and particularly touted the success of preventative dental care in avoiding serious health care consequences. They expressed disappointment regarding the barriers not only states face in implementing comprehensive dental benefits (e.g., budgetary constraints and enormous patient caseloads), but also the barriers dentists themselves face from participating in Medicaid programs (e.g., Medicaid payment rates and administrative burdens to participate). Commissioners highlighted the importance of good oral health and expressed their support for states providing more comprehensive dental benefits for adults enrolled in Medicaid, while also acknowledging the fiscal constraints and political factors that have prevented more widespread expansion.

Impact on General Dentistry: The AGD strongly supports ensuring dental health benefits and access under Medicaid while reducing administrative burden and ensuring payment rates sufficient to encourage provider participation. The AGD will continue to monitor MACPAC’s discussion on dental benefits within Medicaid and the opportunity to advocate for policies that support dentist participation in Medicaid programs.