Study: Medicaid spends millions on treating dental problems at EDs | Clinics struggle to fill holes in Denti-Cal | Open enrollment period brings new options, deadlines, prices
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October 16, 2014
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News affecting dental benefits

Industry News
Study: Medicaid spends millions on treating dental problems at EDs
Each year from 2009 through 2011, 84,000 Ohioans sought care for dental problems at emergency departments at a cost of millions of dollars to Medicaid, according to a study by advocacy group Dental Access Now. Ohio's Medicaid program includes dental coverage, but few dentists accept Medicaid insurance, the report found. The federal government has identified 84 areas in Ohio that have a shortage of dentists and hygienists. The Cincinnati Enquirer (tiered subscription model) (10/8)
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Clinics struggle to fill holes in Denti-Cal
California's Medicaid dental program does not cover some care, such as gum treatments, partial dentures for a few missing teeth and root canals on molars. Patients who need uncovered services often seek care at free clinics or go without, and Assemblyman Dr. Richard Pan said some have resorted to extreme measures such as pulling out enough teeth to qualify for dentures. The California Dental Association is encouraging state lawmakers to restore full dental benefits for adults, but Pan said he does not believe there is enough support in the Legislature for it. KPCC-FM (Los Angeles) (10/13)
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Open enrollment period brings new options, deadlines, prices
The open enrollment period for health plans sold through Affordable Care Act exchanges begins Nov. 15 and will be marked by a streamlined enrollment process for many families, a shorter open enrollment period than last year, more plans available, and in some cases, changes in premiums. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (10/11)
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Colo. to unveil upgraded SHOP exchange
Fewer than anticipated employees enrolled in a 2014 health plan through Colorado's small-business health insurance exchange aimed at small employers, in part because of problems with the site. Functionality and usability have been improved ahead of the 2015 open enrollment season, and Connect for Health Colorado officials say they will try to meet 2014 goals for 2015 and expand the market in the future. The Denver Post (10/14)
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Mich. expands Medicaid dental program for children
Michigan's Healthy Kids Dental program for children on Medicaid has expanded to Macomb and Kalamazoo counties. Delta Dental partners with the Michigan Department of Community Health on the program, which covers cleanings, fillings, X-rays, root canals and extractions. C&G Newspapers (Warren, Mich.) (10/15), (Michigan) (free registration) (10/9)
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Changes await consumers shopping for insurance on
The federal Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange has received a makeover in preparation for the 2015 open enrollment season. Most shoppers will have only 16 screens to go through, compared with 76 before the upgrade, and the site allows consumers to browse plans without creating a user account. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model)/The Associated Press (10/14)
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Oral Health
Study examines oral health problems in athletes
Up to 75% of elite or professional athletes suffer from tooth decay, up to 15% have moderate to severe gum disease, 36% to 85% have some erosion of tooth enamel, and 5% to 39% have pericoronitis or impacted molars, a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found. High-carbohydrate diets, consumption of acidic sports drinks, developing a dry mouth during exertion, eating disorders and trauma contribute to poor oral health in athletes, the researchers found. "[O]ral health should be embedded within other aspects of health promotion, taking into account the structural issues and inter-relationship of athletes within their sport and peer networks," the researchers wrote. (10/13)
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Company News
Mark your calendars for CONVERGE 2015!
Save the date for CONVERGE 2015, Sept. 28 -- Oct. 1 at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa in Palm Desert, California. CONVERGE is the best professional development opportunity the dental benefits industry has to offer. It features a variety of learning formats -- from interactive roundtables and panels to casual, informative discussions and energetic networking opportunities including enlightening exhibits in the new Discovery Zone. At CONVERGE you will become inspired as you share your insights and challenges with fellow colleagues and polish your skills as you learn from thought leaders and industry experts. For more information, visit
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NADP publishes Network Statistics Report
The NADP/DDPA Network Statistics Report is now available on the NADP website. The report is available to voting members as a part of your membership, and to non-voting members at a deeply discounted rate. The report can be downloaded or purchased from the “Statistical Reports” section of the NADP Knowledge Center.
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Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become."
-- Reinhold Niebuhr,
American theologian
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