Poor Missourians might receive dental care from delinquent taxpayers starting in April.
According to Gov. Jay Nixon the tax amnesty which allowed delinquent taxpayers to pay their taxes from September 1 to November 30 helped the state collect $35 million. Even if it was only about half of what the state officials estimated it was enough to fund dental care coverage through Medicaid.
It is expected for 282 poor Missourians to benefit from expanded dental coverage increasing the rate for healthcare providers who accept Medicaid beneficiaries by 1 percent.
For now the dental services covered through Medicaid in Missouri for adults is only covering trauma of teeth, jaw and mouth resulted from disease or injury. Complete services were only provided to people living in nursing homes, to blind people, to pregnant women and to children. Adults have lost the right to these services after the Medicaid cuts made by Gov. Matt Blunt a decade ago, in 2005.
But things are about to change since the State’s Department of Social Service announced that it is going to submit an amendment to CMS which aims to expand the coverage so also include restorative services, preventive services, periodontal treatment, general anesthesia, infection control, pain evaluation and pain relief but also radiographs, extractions and oral surgery.
It is still unknown the exact date when the services covered by Medicaid will become available to citizens as it depends on the CMS’s approval of the plan amendment. Dental hygienists and local dentists who accept patients covered by Medicaid can be found using the search tool on the website of the Missouri Department of Social Services.
On Tuesday Gov. Nixon declared that strong communities are made up of healthy individuals so he is thrilled that the funding of medical services has been possible. However he warns that those medical services are too critical to rely on a one-time source of revenue so the fiscal discipline should be kept during this new fiscal year so that the medical services provided to the most vulnerable citizens will keep being available.
Despite the fact that the program awaits federal approval Nixon set the goal to have it up and running in April. The governor also hopes that the next year’s budget will be large enough to include sustainable funding for providers of healthcare in the area of developmental disabilities.
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