New Virginia Medicaid dental expansion to impact 14,600 in Danville | News

Alonzo Osche

DANVILLE, Va. — On July 1, Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) partnered with DentaQuest to expand Medicaid’s coverage to include dental services. This new expansion will affect 750,000 people statewide and roughly 14,600 in the city of Danville.

Medicaid’s insurance through DentaQuest covers up to three regular cleanings annually, preventative care, x-rays, fillings, dentures, oral surgeries, and other health services. Any adult eligible for Medicaid is also eligible for dental coverage. 

“In a nutshell, the children have always had this, adults didn’t. It’s going to be included for all adults now,” said Benefits Program Supervisor Rhona Cunningham.

Director of Danville Social Services Christopher Spain gave reason to why Medicaid chose to add to its existing benefits.

“The reason that this passed and now is effect is because oral health is very important to overall health,” Spain said. “It’s been known to be the case, which is why children and pregnant women have benefited from this previous to July 1. And now expanding it is a demonstration of the importance that oral health, good oral health, has on the body. This is a benefit that is being added to a population that has not previously had that benefit. It was only available to children and pregnant woman.”

Spain stressed the ties between dental health and better living.

“All adults now are obviously very important and we want to make sure they’re accessing dental for sake of their overall health,” he said. “It impacts quality of life. Not only from the standpoint of health, but just functionality and being able to eat. We do want them to take advantage of this.”

Spain aims to ease the anxiety some may have about applying for the new dental insurance.

“It’s made in addition to their existing benefits,” Spain said. “So, it’s not something they’ve needed to apply for.”

For those already under full benefits of Medicaid, the new dental coverage will come automatically.

Spain takes a local perspective to the new benefits, saying, “We’re obviously hoping it will prevent oral health problems. It will offer a resolution to those who need treatment that have not been able to seek treatment because they were not insured. We’re hoping it will help build capacity within the community. If there are Medicaid providers, those who will accept Medicaid, that can help build infrastructure that’s not currently present.”

Spain continued, “Any time you have government funding to support citizens needs it helps build infrastructure in a community. We’re hoping to see that as well.”

Those who are interested or in need of a dentist can visit https://www.commonhelp.virginia.gov/.

Medicaid members can contact DentaQuest at 1-888-912-3456 to find a dentist and learn about their dental benefits. Those curious about coverage can also go to either dentaquest.com or DMAS.virginia.gov.

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