States expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act can include dental coverage in their alternative benefit plan for low-income adults. Key considerations for states in deciding whether and how to offer dental benefits include the state’s perceived value of oral health, parity of benefits across populations, costs, state legislation, and administrative factors.

This brief, made possible by the DentaQuest Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, summarizes state decisions regarding the inclusion of dental benefits for the Medicaid expansion population. Through a national scan of states, the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) found that 20 Medicaid-expansion states intend to offer at least a minimal dental benefit to newly eligible populations. Of these states, 13 will offer comprehensive benefits. To ensure access to care among the newly covered, these states are:

  • Tailoring outreach strategies;
  • Engaging oral health stakeholders;
  • Exploring financial and non-financial provider incentives; and/or
  • Considering opportunities to expand the dental workforce.

The brief can help inform other states as they determine benefit offerings for the Medicaid expansion population expanding Medicaid in 2014 and beyond.