June 4, 2018
Dental care is an important part of your overall health, but it’s often overlooked.
By taking preventative measures (like regular dental exams and self-care), you can detect problems early. And it will make it easier to get them under control. Many people have problems with oral hygiene, and it can have a negative impact on your health and quality of life. The amount of dental disease and tooth loss is high among low-income individuals, and most of it is because they lack dental coverage and availability of care.
Medicaid is the main health coverage program for low-income people in the United States, because it gives them a comprehensive package for both children and adults. Not only does it give them access to general medical care, but it can also give them and their children access to oral care that includes screening, diagnoses, and treatment services. They can find a Medicaid dentist that works in their area, and they can get the oral care that they need.
Why Oral Health is Important
Any kind of untreated oral disease can impact your health. It can affect your ability to eat, or you can experience tooth loss. Not only can it lead to nutritional problems, but it can also result in chronic pain that can impact your ability to perform daily activities like speech or sleep. Studies have shown that there is an association between chronic oral infections and the following medical conditions:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
- Poor birth outcomes
Working adults will lose approximately 164 million hours of work every year because of problems with oral health. And people who work in low-income industries (like customer service) will lose two to four times more work hours because of issues related to oral health.
On a national level, 27% of adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have untreated dental problems, but it’s not distributed evenly across the entire population. The rate among low-income indivuduals is 44%, while the rate for people who make higher incomes is at 17%. You can see that the rate among lower incomes is twice as high. And the same disproportion is true for Black and Hispanic adults, which is higher than Whites. This is in relation to the higher rates of poverty among these groups.
The Role of a Medicaid Dentist in Covering Low-Income Adults
In 2014, 28 million low-income Americans were covered under Medicaid. And since February 2016, 31 states and the District of Columbia adopted the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, which gave people who were at or below the Federal Poverty Level access to Medicaid. However, the insured rate among people with lower incomes is still high, especially in the 19 states that haven’t adopted the program. In non-expansion states, the median Medicaid income eligibility for parents is 44% below the Federal Poverty Level. And adults without children (except for pregnant women and people with disabilities) aren’t eligible for Medicaid regardless of their income. Approximately 2.9 million adults with incomes that are 100% below the Federal Poverty Level are in the “coverage gap” that exists in non-expansion states, which means that they aren’t eligible for Medicaid coverage and are unable to get subsidies in the Marketplace.
Because adult dental benefits are optional under Medicaid, there is a difference from state to state on what’s available in the program. But almost all states (46 in total) as well as the District of Columbia offer some type of dental care benefits for people under Medicaid. So, they can find a Medicaid dentist for adults to get their oral hygiene back on track. Fifteen states offer extensive adult dental care benefits under Medicaid, which can include coverage for more than 100 diagnostic, preventative, and restorative procedures. But there is a cap of at least $1,000 a person.
Nineteen states have limited benefits for a dentist that accept Medicaid, which means that they offer fewer than 100 of the same procedures with an expense cap of $1,000 or less. The remaining thirteen only offer emergency care for injuries, trauma, or tooth extractions, and four of them have no dental care benefits at all. Even in states that offer some dental care benefits, people under Medicaid may have to pay a lot out-of-pocket. So, covering the cost of a dentist that take Medicaid may be impossible.
Getting Access to a Medicaid Dentist
The availability of a Medicaid dentist for low-income individuals will depend on a variety of factors. Some of these include:
- The dental benefits that are included in their state’s Medicaid program.
- The availability of a dentist that take Medicaid.
- The awareness of the beneficiary and the provider on the importance of preventative dental care.
- Whether low-income individuals decide to use the available dental services.
Cost is the main reason why they don’t use a Medicaid dentist for adults, especially when there is no coverage for these types of services. It can be hard to pay for them out-of-pocket. And in some cases, it may be impossible. This could lead to lower expectations with regard to their oral health, which can reinforce the disparities that already exist. If low-income Americans aren’t aware of the necessity of regular dental exams or are unable to afford them, they may wait until they’re in pain before they get help.
A Quality Medicaid Dentist in Hammond, IN
If you want to find a dentist near me that accept Medicaid, Bade DDS can perform a number of covered procedures. Our staff has been trained in providing quality dental care, and we will do our best to keep your teeth in good working order. Our office is located in Hammond, IN. And when you use our services, you’ll get the best dental care in the area. We’re a dentist that accepts Medicaid, as well as a number of other coverage plans. And we would be happy to tell you which companies are within our network.
If you want to work with the best dentist near me that accept Medicaid, feel free to contact our office. We would be happy to speak with you!