Why California Residents Should Take Advantage of Medi-Cal’s Dental Coverage

Oral health is critical to overall health and quality of life. Left untreated, oral problems can lead to severe pain, infections, and even a loss of function or death. Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program, includes dental coverage for qualified individuals and families. It’s available to all state residents as long as they qualify, regardless of immigration status. Healthcare plan providers like IEHP.org and help you identify what you qualify for and make sure you are receiving all the care you are entitled to.

It’s Low Cost

One of the best things about Medi-Cal is that it covers various health services, including dentistry. You can choose a plan with medical, dental, and vision benefits to meet your family’s needs. The good news is that you can apply online, over the phone, or in-person to get started. There are also many ways to verify your benefits and find a dentist who accepts Medi-Cal. If you qualify for Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program, you will likely receive a letter from the state with your plan options and coverage levels. Once you have received the letter, you can shop for a Medi-Cal health plan that best fits your family’s needs and financial situation. Once you’ve found a health plan, Medi-Cal will pay the doctor or dental provider directly for your covered services. You’ll receive a plastic Medi-Cal Benefits Identification Card (BIC) to use your insurance at the doctor or dentist’s office. Medi-Cal also has a share-of-cost program to help you lower dental care costs. This is a great way to get regular dental checkups while controlling your budget. The program scales with your household’s income so you can visit the dentist for a fraction of the price.

It’s Convenient

Medi-Cal is a great way to get the care you need if you live in California and don’t have access to dental coverage. The state-run program covers low-income people, including families, seniors, individuals with disabilities, children in foster care, and pregnant women. In addition to providing dental care, Medi-Cal offers other services that can improve your quality of life and help you achieve your health goals. For example, it may provide case management services if you have particular healthcare needs that prevent you from scheduling and coordinating treatment among multiple practitioners. The state may also offer financial assistance for certain preventive services to reduce your overall cost of dental care. For example, a fluoride treatment can be a very inexpensive and effective way to protect your teeth from tooth decay.

It’s Affordable

You and your family might be surprised at how affordable Medi-Cal’s dental coverage is. Whether you’re an adult, a married couple, or even a parent, the program can cover routine checkups and preventative care at your local dentist’s office. Medi-Cal’s fee-for-service model allows the state to pay providers directly for covered services. This makes accessing quality dental care much easier, as you can visit any provider who accepts Medi-Cal. It also helps that your benefits identification card will be mailed to you, so you can flash it when you go to the dentist. Then you’ll enjoy various routine services, including dental exams, cleanings, and x-rays. Besides the benefit of saving money, regular dental visits can help you and your children maintain healthy teeth and gums. That’s important for catching cavities and other serious dental problems before they worsen. It’s also important to know that your Medi-Cal provider can refer you to a specialist, such as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon or endodontist. These specialists are often more expensive than your average dentist, but they can offer you much higher quality treatment. If you want a specialist, ask your dentist for a referral and bring it to your appointment.

It’s Better for Your Health

Regular dental checkups are the best way to avoid expensive dental bills later. It’s also a great way to catch problems early and prevent them from becoming more serious, saving you money and stress in the long run. For adults, Medi-Cal covers or provides low-cost options up to $1800 a year for your dental needs including; 2x yearly dental exams and cleanings, x-rays, tooth removals, emergency services, fillings, fluoride treatments, orthodontics (for those who qualify), root canals, scaling, and crowns. Teens are also eligible for Medi-Cal’s dental benefits. Your child’s benefits include; bi-annual dental exams and cleanings, x-rays, teeth removals, molar sealants, fillings, fluoride treatments, braces, crowns, and root canals. Children and adolescents are more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease than adults and may require additional treatment and care later. Getting a child started on a good oral health routine, such as visiting the dentist at age one and keeping up with regular checkups, can help prevent tooth decay and other problems and boost their self-esteem. To help expand access to quality dental care, DHCS oversees CalHealthCares, which offers dentists student loan repayment and practice support grants for providing care to Medi-Cal beneficiaries. Dentists interested in participating in CalHealthCares should contact DHCS for more information about the program.



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