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Missouri state budget allots $48 million to fund Medicaid dental - KOAM TV 7

Missouri state budget allots $48 million to fund Medicaid dental care coverage

Updated:
The 2015 Missouri state budget allots $48 million to Medicaid dental care. 
Since 2005, Medicaid has not covered dental services in Missouri. 
"There's no way that a family like ours could afford to pay for a dentist visit or a doctor visit," said patient Regan Harwood.
Harwood, expecting a baby, is temporarily on Medicaid.
"When you're pregnant, the income limitations become way more extended than when you're not pregnant," Harwood said.
Harwood's dental appointment today was not covered by Medicaid, but next month that could change. 
Harwood is just one of nearly 300,000 Missouri residents on Medicaid who will now have dental care coverage.
Lawmakers added state and federal funds to the Medicaid program's budget.
Dental director Kala Smith at Access Family Care says Medicaid recipients will not have full dental coverage, but enough for necessary services such as a tooth extraction or restoration.
"It wouldn't cover crowns, dentures or things like that because it's limited coverage, but it will be needed coverage," Smith said.
Around 50 percent of patients at Access Family Care are on Medicaid, but with the newly added coverage, health care providers expect an increase in dental patients.
"We will have a lot more patients able to have treatment," Smith said.
Smith agrees with lawmakers that the number of dental related emergency room visits will decline.
Those on Medicaid will qualify for limited dental services next month when Missouri's new budget year begins. 
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