On Monday, June 16, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill that will restore adult dental care and podiatric care to the state’s Medicaid program on or after Oct. 1.
Coverage of dental and podiatric care had been cut from Medicaid in 2012 to save money, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The restoration of Medicaid-covered dental care will impact the 3 million Illinois residents on Medicaid, 349,000 of whom were able to enroll in Medicaid due to the expansion of the Affordable Care Act, the Chicago Sun-Timesreported.
Supporters of the bill say giving low-income households access to preventative dental services can help save money long-term by reducing the number of emergency dental visits. According to the Centers for Disease Control, only about 61% of Americans aged 18 to 64 visited the dentist over the last year.
The bill Quinn signed will definitely make dental care more accessible for everyone — but at what cost?
According to a News-Gazette article from June 17, it could be months before adults on Medicaid are able to get a dental appointment, due to many dental clinics being full, limiting the number of available openings.
However, as Illinois’ number of people covered under Medicaid continues to grow, there will likely be a growth in the number of dental practices throughout the state that can treat the number of patients coming in.