AlohaCare and Ohana Health Plan add adult dental benefit

Both AlohaCare and ‘Ohana Health Plan, announced that they will add adult dental coverage to their Med-Quest plan benefits beginning January 2019. The additional dental coverage costs will be born by each of the two plans individually and is not an addition to Medicaid coverage overall, thus will not be available to Med-Quest enrollees that are currently served by any of the state’s three other Med-Quest plans.

The addition of dental coverage to the two plans represents an effort on the part of the plans and the state to address the oral health disparities in low-income Hawaiians as highlighted in a 2015 report on oral Health produced by the Hawaii Department of Health. The report found that low-income residents were 30% less likely to see a dentist within the last year, that those with higher incomes.

 

Since 2009, dental care coverage for adults enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program has been limited to emergency care. This lack of access to regular care resulted in disproportionate use of the emergency room to address dental health issues, driving up costs and down overall health outcomes.

Hawaii has approximately 364,000 residents enrolled in Medicaid/Med-Quest. In an effort to promote better oral health among Hawaii residents and promote overall patient wellness, plan AlohaCare and Ohana plan members will have the benefit of an annual exam, fluoride treatment, a cleaning every six months, one set of bitewing x-rays per year and either a non-emergent tooth extraction or filling. LIBERTY Dental Plan will manage the dental network for both health plans.

Scott Sivik, state president of ‘Ohana Health Plan explained the importance of the dental addition,

“Oral health is critical to good health and overall well-being. The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body and provides clues about overall health and larger health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. At ‘Ohana Health Plan, we believe maintaining a healthy community means providing quality dental care to those who need it the most.”

Laura Esslinger, chief executive officer, AlohaCare added,

“We are excited to address a major coverage disparity for adults covered by Medicaid in Hawaii,” At last, adults who have QUEST Integration coverage will have access to oral healthcare to better integrate care and improve overall health and well-being.”

Medicaid beneficiaries who are not currently members of ʻOhana Health Plan or AlohaCare but wish to access these companies’ basic adult dental care coverage change their enrollment to select AlohaCare or ‘Ohana Health Plan during Annual Plan Change period from Oct. 1-31, 2018.