News & Notes
Effective April 1, 2022: Maryland Expands Medicaid Postpartum Coverage to 12 Months
The state of Maryland is engaged in a comprehensive effort to improve maternal and child health, with a special focus on addressing health disparities. To bolster the state’s strategy, on April 1, 2022, Maryland Healthy Smiles (Maryland’s Medicaid Dental Program) extended dental coverage during pregnancy to the end of the 12th month following the end of the pregnancy. For example, if the pregnancy ended on December 10, 2022, the member will have dental benefits until December 31, 2023. Maternal and child health outcomes can be greatly improved by ensuring access to care for at least a year beyond pregnancy. Extension of Maryland’s Medicaid pregnancy benefits to 12 months postpartum gives MDAC an opportunity to encourage the integration of oral and obstetrics care, particularly at public health facilities with co-located medical and dental clinics. Furthermore, it gives MDAC members, partners, and stakeholders additional time and opportunity to encourage physicians, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners to improve maternal and child health outcomes by promoting utilization of Medicaid pregnancy/postpartum dental benefits.
Governor Hogan Signs Legislation Establishing Medicaid Adult Dental Coverage to Start in January 2023
Since its formation as the Dental Action Committee in 2007, the Maryland Dental Action Coalition (MDAC) has pursued equitable access to oral health care for historically marginalized communities who experience the effects of persistent health disparities. This year, the Maryland General Assembly took a monumental step forward in dismantling these health disparities with passage of SB150/HB6 Maryland Medical Assistance Program – Dental Coverage for Adults; anticipated to start January 2023. On Thursday, May 12, Governor Larry Hogan formally signed the legislation into law, marking a tremendous achievement that will benefit the oral health of hundreds of thousands of Maryland residents. In addition to funding for the Maryland Medical Assistance Program – Dental Coverage for Adults, over $19M in supplemental funds are also included in the state budget to support an increase in Medicaid dental reimbursement rates.
Many of you participated in MDAC’s multi-year campaign to secure Medicaid adult dental coverage - each year working tirelessly to augment and support coalition efforts to improve equitable access to oral health care in Maryland. Thank you!
As noted in last month’s newsletter, there is much to celebrate. But at the same time, there is a lot more work to be done. For the bill to have successful implementation and equitable access to dental care, we will need similar levels of effort, participation, and collaborative work. Our collective effort has already helped thousands of dual eligible adults receive dental care, many for the first time in years, through the Medicaid adult dental waiver program. MDAC is looking into ways we can grow from that success. We will be planning future member, partner, and stakeholder meetings to discuss these growing efforts alongside other statewide initiatives to improve oral health equity and outcomes in Maryland.