Senate confirms Verma as CMS administrator | Young dentists embrace DSO model | Mo. added dental care to Medicaid but struggles with a dentist shortage
March 16, 2017
NADP SmartBrief
News affecting dental benefits
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Senate confirms Verma as CMS administrator
Senate confirms Verma as CMS administrator.
Verma (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
The Senate voted 55-43 Monday evening to confirm Seema Verma as CMS administrator. Verma, who oversaw the design of Indiana's Medicaid expansion program, begins her position as Republicans seek to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with a proposed health plan that includes ending support for expanded Medicaid programs after 2019.
The Hill (3/13),  The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (3/13) 
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Going without dental insurance costs older Americans
Most Americans who have employer-sponsored dental benefits lose that coverage when they retire, and Medicare does not cover nonemergent dental care. However, as Kim Blanton points out, older Americans who lack dental insurance pay an average of $1,126 annually for dental care, $400 more than people who do have dental insurance spend.
Squared Away Blog (3/9) 
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Young dentists embrace DSO model
Dental support organizations are poised for growth as older dentists retire and the number of new dental school graduates increases, according to panelists at an American Dental Association webcast. More than 16% of dentists in the US younger than 35 are affiliated with a DSO, according to ADA data. (free registration) (3/14) 
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Mo. added dental care to Medicaid but struggles with a dentist shortage
Missouri restored adult dental care to Medicaid coverage last year, and Missouri Coalition for Oral Health Executive Director Gary Harbison says he expects to see lower costs in the program as emergency department use for nontraumatic dental conditions declines. But Missouri ranked 41st in the nation last year in terms of dentists per capita and percentage of people who saw a dentist, and some rural counties have only one or no dentists.
Columbia Missourian (3/14) 
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Conn. dentist pleads guilty to insurance fraud
Elena Ilizarov, owner and operator of Advanced Dentistry in Stamford, Conn., has pleaded guilty to falsely billing almost $600,000 to private insurers. Ilizarov was accused of using the records of a retired dentist to submit fraudulent claims for unprovided services since 2005, receiving about $581,729 in improper payments from 2011 to 2015, authorities say.
The Advocate (Stamford, Conn.) (3/15) 
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Bill would authorize adult dental coverage under Md. Medicaid
Maryland Delegate Mike McKay is sponsoring a bill to add adult dental coverage to Medicaid if the state budget allows. Coverage would cost an estimated $54.4 million to $192 million a year, depending on the extent of coverage, but emergency department dental care cost Medicaid $11.5 million in 2013 and $15 million in 2014, the same legislative analysis found.
The Herald-Mail (Hagerstown, Md.) (3/16),  WJZ-TV (Baltimore)/The Associated Press (3/14) 
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GOP pushes ACA overhaul despite resistance
President Donald Trump and House Republicans are moving forward with plans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act over the objections of many health care professionals and at the risk of further upsetting the individual health insurance market. The Congressional Budget Office has yet to score the bills, and Republicans appear to be counting on Democrats' help to pass the measures.
The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (3/11),  Reuters (3/13) 
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Wis. county health department chips in for dental care
A Fond du Lac County, Wis., Health Department program reimburses dentists for some costs of providing care for minors and some adults who have only public health insurance. Health department staff perform an oral health assessment before the patient's first visit, and dentists schedule eligible patients for care during slow periods.
The Reporter (Fond Du Lac, Wis.) (3/15) 
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Oral Health
Author explores divide between medical, dental care
Author explores divide between medical, dental care.
(Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
A new book by Mary Otto explores the history and ramifications of the divide between oral health and medical care in the US. "There's this gap in the way we understand oral diseases and the way we approach tooth decay," Otto says in this interview. "We still approach it like it's a surgical problem that needs to be fixed, rather than a disease that needs to be prevented and treated."
The Atlantic online (3/9) 
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Company News
New Network Statistics Report published
The Network Statistics Report provides information about the impact of network-based dental benefits in the US. This report utilizes data from the 2016 survey of provider networks in the dental benefits industry. It contains specific information about DHMO, DPPO and Discount Dental Provider Networks at the state and national levels. For dental plan members, the report is offered as a membership benefit and for all other member categories, the report is available at a preferred member discount. Visit the "Statistical Reports" section of the NADP Knowledge Center to download or purchase the report. Log in to receive the appropriate member price.
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2017 webinar series subscription packages now available
Invest in the success of your company and employees with a Webinar Series Subscription Package that includes every 2017 educational presentation. The package includes a wide range of topics focusing on public and private exchanges, dental plan consumers, teledentistry, oral health and working with dental support organizations. Two package options are available: Webinars with Recordings and Webinars without Recordings (recordings of previous presentations added to complete the package). For pricing information and a full list of topics, visit the NADP Knowledge Center.
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