Root Canal Covered By Medicaid


Dental Benefits For Adults In Medicaid

No More Root Canals!

States have flexibility to determine what dental benefits are provided to adult Medicaid enrollees. While most states provide at least emergency dental services for adults, less than half of the states currently provide comprehensive dental care. There are no minimum requirements for adult dental coverage.

Are Dental Crowns Covered By Medicare

Unfortunately, Original Medicare does not include coverage for services like dental exams, cleanings, fillings, crowns, bridges, plates or dentures. There are some exceptions, such as when a hospital stay is involved, but otherwise you would have to pay out of pocket for any routine dental services.

Can I Get Medicaid Coverage For Past Dental Bills

If you had a dental procedure that you had to pay for out-of-pocket because you didn’t have health insurance, you should find out if you would have qualified for Medicaid during that time. Retroactive Medicaid can go back up to three months and cover dental bills you may have incurred.

Of course, this depends on if your state Medicaid plan covers dental for adults. If you want to see if you can get retroactive Medicaid for dental bills within the past three months, you should contact a Healthcare Navigator to help you, as it can be a complicated process.

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Children’s Oral Health Initiative

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is committed to improving access to dental and oral health services for children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP. We have been making considerable progress in our efforts to ensure that low-income children have access to oral health care. From 2007 to 2011, almost half of all states achieved at least a ten percentage point increase in the proportion of children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP that received a preventive dental service during the reporting year. Yet, tooth decay remains one of the most common chronic childhood diseases.

To support continued progress, in 2010 CMS launched the Children’s Oral Health Initiative and set goals for improvement by FFY 2015. To achieve those goals, we have adopted a national oral health strategy through which we are working diligently with states and federal partners, as well as the dental provider community, children’s advocates and other stakeholders to improve children’s access to dental care.

To support state Medicaid and CHIP programs in achieving their improvement goals, we developed Keep Kids Smiling: Promoting Oral Health Through the Medicaid Benefit for Children and Adolescents . It provides an overview of the children’s dental benefit in Medicaid, support for evidence-based policies at the state level, and details of successful strategies with state examples.

Dental Benefits For Children In Medicaid

Does Medicaid Cover Dental Care?

Medicaid covers dental services for all child enrollees as part of a comprehensive set of benefits, referred to as the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment benefit. Though oral screening may be part of a physical exam, it does not substitute for a dental examination performed by a dentist. A referral to a dentist is required for every child in accordance with the periodicity schedule set by a state.

Dental services for children must minimally include:

  • Relief of pain and infections
  • Restoration of teeth
  • Maintenance of dental health

The EPSDT benefit requires that all services must be provided if determined medically necessary. States determine medical necessity. If a condition requiring treatment is discovered during a screening, the state must provide the necessary services to treat that condition, whether or not such services are included in a state’s Medicaid plan.

Each state is required to develop a dental periodicity schedule in consultation with recognized dental organizations involved in child health care. Dental services may not be limited to emergency services for children entitled to EPSDT.

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Advocacy Group Steps In To Help

While all this was going on, Mills appealed the BLE rejection and enlisted the help of Put People First Pennsylvania, a health-care advocacy group. Jacob Hope is a member and worked with Mills to help her navigate the BLE appeal process. He said Put People First is pushing for an appointed official who would advocate on the behalf of patients like Mills, much as a public advocate does when it comes to utility issues.

When our electric company or our water company is doing something wrong, we actually have an advocate for us with these utilities, Hope said. There isnt one with health care, so we think there should be one.

Put People First organized a call-in day for Mills, in which a group of volunteers called her insurer on her behalf, asking that they cover the procedure for her.

Eventually, Mills insurer approved the root canal two months after she had the work done. Prime Choice Dental, Mills dental practice, confirmed that the insurance company ultimately approved the procedure.

The dentist refunded Mills money, and she was able to pay off the care credit card. But Mills found out she needs another root canal on the tooth next door, and the insurer has denied her BLE for that.

Even if they fix it for me, it doesnt solve it for everyone, she said. Im one in probably thousands of people that need this kind of stuff done.

If those cavities progress, shell need root canals on those teeth, too, and the process will start all over again.

Pdm Makes Dental Procedures More Affordable For More Patients

Regular dental care is crucial to promoting positive oral health and overall health. At PDM, we do all we can to keep financial cost from being a barrier to the services they need and deserve.

We work with patients in lower-income areas and in other underserved populations to help make comprehensive dental care available, easier to understandand more affordable.

PDM makes sure we advise each of our patients about the estimated cost of their recommended dental work. Our student dentists will help answer any questions you may have about treatment costs prior to treatment.

In addition to accepting direct payments from most dental insurance plans, PDM accepts all Medicaid plans offered to residents of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Do you want to know more about finding low-cost, high quality dental care? Request your free copy of our eBook, Dental Work Without the Stress. It will help give you peace of mind about receiving important dental treatment, as well as handling their financial cost.

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How Much Does Medicare Advantage For Dental Coverage Cost

If you are looking for Medicare dental coverage, you may want to consider a Medicare Advantage plan. With a Medicare Advantage plan, you will most likely pay a copayment or coinsurance. This is the same as with any health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

There also may be an annual limit on how much Medicare Advantage will cover for your dental care, so make sure you read your insurance contract and ask your provider if you have any specific questions pertaining to Medicare dental plans.

News Flash September 201:

Say NO to Root Canals – Damaging to your Health

In August, 2018, The Legal Aid Society and Willkie Farr & Gallagher filed Ciaramella v. Zucker to challenge the New York State Department of Healths rules preventing Medicaid coverage for replacement dentures within 8 years from initial placement and the ban on Medicaid coverage for dental implants. See article in New York Times, August 2, 2018, “Lack of Dental Coverage Hampers Medicaid Recipients, Suit Says.” In response, DOH will be implementing changes to the dental manual to cover dental implants when medically necessary and to change the rules for replacement dentures. These changes, described below and in this document, will take effect on November 12, 2018. The new rule on replacement dentures imposes new documentation requirements and will be a step backward for some.

Legal Aid Society asks you to let them know if you are working with Medicaid-eligible individuals who require dental implants or replacement dentures, including those whose care may not be covered based on the revised policy. They also want to speak with Medicaid-eligible individuals who require any other dental treatments that are not covered by Medicaid including root canals, immediate dentures, osseous surgery. Contact: Legal Aid Society Health Hotline 577-3575 or .


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Hoosier Healthwise And Chip Members

The following listed dental services are covered:

  • Two oral exams every 12 months
  • One cleaning every 6 months
  • Two fluoride treatments every 12 months for members through age 20
  • One complete bitewing x-ray series per member every 12 months
  • Full-mouth radiograph series or panoramic x-rays once every 36 months
  • Periodontal services including scaling and root planing
  • Sealants for members up to age 20
  • Minor restorative services, such as fillings
  • Major restorative services, such as crowns
  • Tooth extractions
  • Orthodontia for members through age 20
  • Dentures, partials, and repairs
  • Dental surgery
  • Emergency dental services

Some dental services must be approved in advance, including dentures and dental surgery. Your dentist can help you get approval.

Dental Benefits For Children In Chip

States that provide CHIP coverage to children through a Medicaid expansion program are required to provide the EPSDT benefit. Dental coverage in separate CHIP programs is required to include coverage for dental services “necessary to prevent disease and promote oral health, restore oral structures to health and function, and treat emergency conditions.”

States with a program may choose from two options for providing dental coverage: a package of dental benefits that meets the CHIP requirements, or a benchmark dental benefit package. The benchmark dental package must be substantially equal to the the most popular federal employee dental plan for dependents, the most popular plan selected for dependents in the state’s employee dental plan, or dental coverage offered through the most popular commercial insurer in the state.

States are also required to post a listing of all participating Medicaid and CHIP dental providers and benefit packages on

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Why Isn’t Dentistry A Medical Specialty

The reason dental is separate from medical is that the nature of the risk is fundamentally different as is the deferability of the care, says Dr. Adam C. Powell, president of Payer+Provider Syndicate, a management advisory and operational consulting firm focused on the managed care and healthcare delivery industries.

Who Can Perform A Root Canal

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Root canals are usually completed by your general family dentist, or an endodontist. Endodontists are specialists that have additional training in treating the nerves of teeth. If you have a more challenging tooth that needs to be treated or retreated then theres a good chance that your dentist will refer you to an endodontic expert. Its not that general dentists arent trained for the job but an endodontist specializes in this procedure and has advanced tools that can help him or her complete larger treatments in less time

But what if you dont have insurance to cover the treatment, let alone the higher price of seeing an Endodontist? A great option is to sign up for an Aetna dental plan like the ones at Aetna Dental Offers. You can save 15-50% off of treatments like root canals, even if theyre performed by a specialist. But unlike traditional insurance, an Aetna savings plan has no annual spending limits. Join today to start saving.

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Does Medicaid Cover Dental For Adults In 2021

Medicaid covers dental care for adults in every state, except for Delaware, Maryland and Tennessee. Coverage varies widely between states, from basic emergency care to extensive coverage.

Many states have mandatory limits on the amount of dental work Medicaid will cover. Some states cap the annual funding per beneficiary, and limits range between $500 and $2,500. Other states limit the number of dental procedures that can be covered by Medicaid each year or over the course of a lifetime. For example, Connecticut and Illinois only fund one root canal per tooth over the beneficiary’s lifetime. Most state Medicaid plans only pay for one dental examination or hygiene treatment per year.

If you are pregnant or have certain disabilities that make dental problems more likely, you may be entitled to more extensive dental coverage through Medicaid than most adults in your state. Roughly half of all states offer enhanced Medicaid dental coverage to pregnant women.

You’ll usually require authorization before Medicaid will cover planned dental treatment. However, the requirement for authorization is often waived if you need emergency treatment or pain relief.

Its Like A Tight Gate

It happens all the time, said Amid Ismail, dean of Temple Universitys Kornberg School of Dentistry.

The rejection rate on the benefit limit exceptions for these procedures exceeds 95, 96 percent, Ismail said. Its like a tight gate. You cannot get through it unless you meet some certain, very specific criteria.

Aetna Better Health declined to put forward someone to comment for this story. But the company outlined circumstances under which a BLE would be approved, including situations where the members life would be in danger, where the member has a serious or chronic condition like diabetes or severe illness that necessitates the service, or where the member would need more expensive treatment if not granted the request.

But Ismail said insurers often argue that a tooth can be pulled, so a procedure like a root canal isnt technically medically necessary. What the companies dont account for is the social stigma associated with missing teeth, or the fact that Medicaid wont pay to replace the tooth with an implant, which costs thousands of dollars.

Ideally, they should reinstitute adult Medicaid because it increases the chance of people on Medicaid to get jobs, to look better, have a better quality of life because if they do not have teeth they cannot really work, Ismail said.

I work hard, like I work 50, 60 hours a week, she said. And to be penalized for this and to be told like, Oh, well, youre sick, but youre not sick enough its extremely frustrating.

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Ways For People On Medicare To Get Dental Coverage

Finding the right Medicare plan can be a tough task for someone over 65. There are a lot of options to choose from just considering basic coverage, and then youve got to decide if you want additional things covered like prescriptions.

For the most part, Medicare gives seniors the medical care they need. Theres one major area, however, where many seniors actually arent covered their teeth. Medicare covers any dental care that results in a hospital stay, but routine dental procedures arent covered.

The coverage most people know about, Original Medicare does not include basic things like dental examinations, yearly cleanings, crowns, fillings, or dentures. There are a few exceptions, like when a hospital stay is required, but youll pay out of pocket for anything tooth related. And for seniors who are already watching their income, paying out of pocket for these expenses may be impossible. Perhaps thats why almost 20 percent of seniors have untreated decay.

Types Of Dental Coverage With Medicaid

New! Dental Health Coverage for Adults!

When it comes to dental coverage, there are a variety of treatments and perks that can be covered, such as:

  • Preventative care Preventative care often refers to general oral health and routine exams. Cleanings, sealants, and X-rays are all possible. This care is normally subject to a yearly cap for each Medicaid participant.
  • Restorative care Another Medicaid-supported service is restorative care, which involves restoring a portion or the entire tooth. Crowns, root canals, and fillings are all examples of this.
  • Emergency care This sort of benefit is for severe pain and/or bleeding that requires immediate attention.
  • Periodontal care Medicaid covers part of the costs associated with gum disorders and procedures such as gum cleaning, scaling, and root planing.

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Does Medicare Cover Dental Health

En español | Original Medicare has no dental plan. It does not cover most routine dental services such as exams, cleanings and X-rays procedures related to dental health, such as fillings, extractions and root canals or dentures and other dental devices.

However, original Medicare can pay some costs associated with emergency or medically necessary dental care.

For example, Medicare Part A, which includes hospital insurance, could cover having teeth pulled in preparation for radiation treatment of jaw cancer, or inpatient care if you need a complicated or emergency dental procedure while in the hospital, such as jaw reconstruction after an accident.

If you rely on Medicare and want coverage for regular oral care, look into Medicare Advantage plans. These policies, offered by private insurance companies, include all original Medicare coverage and often have extra benefits such as dental services .

Another option is Medicare Supplemental Insurance, better known as Medigap. These plans, also sold by private insurers, cover some out-of-pocket costs for Medicare treatment. They do not specifically include extra benefits, but some Medigap providers offer clients options for dental coverage, or discounts on out-of-pocket costs for oral care. If you have Medigap, ask if your provider offers related dental benefits.

Editors note: This article was originally published on July 15, 2015. It has been updated with the latest information regarding Medicare coverage in 2020.

What Are The Advantages Of Standalone Dental Insurance

Private dental insurance plans offer comprehensive coverage for many dental services and come in a variety of coverage levels and price points, so they can be customized to your needs and budget. Most private dental plans provide tiered coverage. For example, routine cleanings and exams may be covered at 100%, fillings and other basic procedures at 80%, and complex procedures at 50%. The average cost for a private dental plan will differ, depending on your coverage selection.

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Enrolling In Medicare Advantage

Do you want a Medicare Advantage plan that can help cover root canals? Get help comparing plans available in your area by speaking to a licensed insurance agent.

Or call 1-800-557-6059TTY Users: 711 to speak with a licensed insurance agent. We accept calls 24/7!

About the author

Christian Worstell is a senior Medicare and health insurance writer with He is also a licensed health insurance agent. Christian is well-known in the insurance industry for the thousands of educational articles hes written, helping Americans better understand their health insurance and Medicare coverage.

Christians work as a Medicare expert has appeared in several top-tier and trade news outlets including Forbes, MarketWatch, WebMD and Yahoo! Finance.

Christian has written hundreds of articles for that teach Medicare beneficiaries the best practices for navigating Medicare. His articles are read by thousands of older Americans each month. By better understanding their health care coverage, readers may hopefully learn how to limit their out-of-pocket Medicare spending and access quality medical care.

Christians passion for his role stems from his desire to make a difference in the senior community. He strongly believes that the more beneficiaries know about their Medicare coverage, the better their overall health and wellness is as a result.

Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.


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