Advocates call for more dental benefits for Marylanders on Medicaid

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WMAR) - A bill introduced during the Maryland General Assembly is hoping to help thousands of Marylanders who need dental coverage. 

The legislation would require the state to find a basic adult dental benefit through Medicaid for those who might have relied on the emergency room for oral pain treatment. 

"Basic dental coverage will divert thousands of low-income Marylanders from expensive and ultimately fruitless trips to the emergency room while also saving the state millions of dollars. The legislation ensures that Maryland provides limited dental coverage as part of the Medicaid program. A small investment in oral health will ease much suffering and save money,” said Senator Thomas Middleton.

Maryland is one of 16 states that do not have dental coverage for adults in Medicaid.

The Maryland Dental Action Coalition studied the cost of emergency room visits by adults with chronic dental problems and found that in 2016 over 42,000 people made emergency room visits for dental problems. With an average cost of $537 per visit, that results in a total cost of $22.7 million. 

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