A NH Extensive Medicaid Adult Dental Benefit is Advancing Toward Implementation

by: Gail T. Brown, JD, MSW, Director NH Oral Health Coalition 

NOW is an exciting time in oral health as we see increased visibility, awareness, and support on the importance of equitable access to oral health and dental services on both the state and federal levels. The passage of updated policy aimed at reducing barriers to oral health access is critical.  

New Hampshire continues to show strong bipartisan support in both the NH House and Senate for the implementation of an extensive NH Medicaid Adult Dental Benefit. Authorized in 2019 via HB4, the Dept. of Health and Human Services is coordinating a collaborative Benefit Work Team and developing the framework for a benefit. The NH House and Senate are working on establishing a budget to support that implementation and care delivery, and this budget will be integrated in HB1 and HB2. Related bills HB103, retained in committee, and SB150, laid on the table, are not necessary factors for the establishment of the benefit. 

Establishment of a benefit under HB4 is supported by Governor Christopher Sununu who stated, "For the first time in New Hampshire history, we are taking steps to create access to quality oral health care for adults with disabilities on Medicaid and other Medicaid recipients. Dental health is directly tied to overall physical health. This bill directs the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a comprehensive plan to ensure that Medicaid recipients can safeguard their smiles – and their overall health.” Press release dated July 22, 2019.    

On May 18, 2021, the NH Senate Finance Committee voted unanimously to include language and funding for an extensive Medicaid Adult Dental Benefit into the Senate version of the Budget.  This vote supports responsible management of scarce state resources by creating a pathway for dental prevention and restoration that ensures Medicaid recipients have the opportunity to receive the right care, at the right time, in the right location allowing Medicaid dollars to be available for dental care rather than paying for expensive care with no repair in the medical setting. The Senate version of the budget will need to be affirmed or revised by the House before final passage. Establishment of a benefit is tentatively set for January 2023. Stay tuned.  

Share this post:

Comments on "A NH Extensive Medicaid Adult Dental Benefit is Advancing Toward Implementation "

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment