ANCOR submitted a statement for the record to the Senate Committee on Finance’s Health Subcommittee’s Chair Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Ranking Member Steve Daines (R-MT) calling for better accessibility of oral health care for people with disabilities.
Medicaid is the largest payer of supports and services for people with disabilities, covering various essential services such as medical care, long-term supports in home and community-based settings, and employment programs. However, one of the biggest gaps in coverage for adults with disabilities is comprehensive dental services under state Medicaid programs.
ANCOR’s statement notes that dental decay affects people with disabilities at higher rates, compromising their health, development, and quality of life. ANCOR cited the Medicaid and CHIP Payment Access Commission’s report which details that while most states provide some form of dental coverage under Medicaid, three states provide no adult dental benefit at all, and nine states cover only emergency services.
ANCOR supports the Medicaid Dental Benefit Act of 2023 introduced by Senator Cardin which would improve the coverage of dental and oral health services for adults covered by Medicaid. ANCOR also appreciates the creation of a core set of adult oral health quality and equity measures, which would provide necessary data to ensure individuals receive the care they need and identify gaps in accessibility.
In addition to the lack of adequate coverage for dental care under state Medicaid programs, another obstacle to accessing comprehensive dental care for people with I/DD, is the lack of providers. According to the American Dental Association, this is, in part, because of low reimbursement rates. ANCOR additionally provided support for measures to improve education and training for dental providers, including support for partnerships among providers of dental care, health care, and long-term supports and services.
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