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DentaQuest Statement on New Federal Report: Inclusion of Adult Dental Benefits for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Saves States Money

The National Commission on Disability (NCD) recently issued a report titled “Medicaid Oral Health Coverage for Adults with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities – A Fiscal Analysis” to President Biden.

National Commission on Disability recommends adult Medicaid dental benefits for this population – a step most states have taken, but not all.

The National Commission on Disability (NCD) recently issued a report titled “Medicaid Oral Health Coverage for Adults with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities – A Fiscal Analysis” to President Biden. The report highlights the proven link between oral health and a person’s overall health, as well as the importance of oral health care to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Medicaid plays a critical role in determining what care is available to the 60% of individuals with I/DD who receive health care coverage through their state’s Medicaid program, according to the report.

Based on the findings, NCD makes specific recommendations for changes at the federal and state levels to ensure state Medicaid programs across the country include adult dental coverage for people with I/DD. Additionally, the report details the costs and savings by state. A number of states currently provide an emergency-only dental benefit to adults with I/DD, while several others provide no dental benefits at all. Other states, like Texas and Louisiana, are highlighted in the report as examples of how states can expand dental coverage to Medicaid members with I/DD. In Louisiana, the state Medicaid program will begin offering a comprehensive dental benefit to adults with I/DD this summer. Meanwhile, Texas offers dental coverage to people with I/DD through several waiver programs.

Today, Steve Pollock, president and CEO for DentaQuest, issued the following statement reacting to the NCD report:

“This new report makes clear that oral health care is health care and investing in dental benefits is the fiscally and ethically responsible move. Without routine dental visits, dental disease or pain can go untreated, particularly among people with I/DD who may have difficulty communicating. This report proves that providing Medicaid dental benefits for adults with I/DD — 60% of whom rely on Medicaid for their health coverage — is more cost effective than continuing to exclude those benefits. It is also more ethical -- coverage would address a significant disparity in care, reduce chronic pain, improve quality of life, and bolster self-confidence. In fact, an adult dental Medicaid benefit directly addresses a key gap in health equity for other populations, as well.

Fortunately, several states have already made progress toward expanding dental benefits to adults. Texas is used as one example, as it provides enhanced dental benefits for people with I/DD through several waiver programs. The report authors also see Louisiana as a possible blueprint, as government leaders recently passed legislation with benefits for adults with I/DD starting this summer. And Virginia is coming up on a year this summer with enhanced dental benefits for adults enrolled in Medicaid.

The impact, the need, and the value are all clear. Ultimately, every state Medicaid program must include dental benefits for all adults.”


DentaQuest, part of Sun Life U.S., is a purpose-driven health care company dedicated to improving the oral health of all. We do this through Preventistry® — our inclusive approach to quality care and expanded access built on trusted partnerships between patients, providers and payors. As one of the nation’s largest and most experienced Medicaid dental benefits administrators, we manage dental and vision benefits for more than 33 million Americans through a nationwide network of providers in all 50 states. Our outcomes-based, cost-effective dental solutions are designed for Medicaid and CHIP, Medicare Advantage, small and large businesses, and individuals. At the same time, we are expanding our footprint of more than 70 oral health centers in six states to deliver direct patient care in rural and underserved populations. Learn more at and follow us on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter.


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