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Medicaid to cover Alaska dental patients through September

August 26, 2019

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska’s Medicaid program will continue to provide comprehensive dental care for adults through the end of September, officials said.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services said the announcement Friday equals five more weeks of care, The Anchorage Daily News reported Sunday.

“There will be another quarter of coverage,” said Donna Steward, the department’s deputy commissioner for Medicaid and health care policy.

Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoed money for the dental program and dentists were told Medicaid funding ended July 1.

The extension is aimed at helping Alaska residents who began dental treatments before July 1 that were not completed at the time of the veto. However, all Medicaid beneficiaries will be able to take advantage of the extension, Steward said.

Alaska Dental Society Executive Director David Logan said Friday he was not aware the preventive dental Medicaid program had been extended.

“It’d be great news if it’s true,” he said. “It’d be even better news if they’d share it with the providers. I’m thinking out loud, but if people knew it was available, they might come in and get some (dental) work done.”

Health and social services department figures show more than one in four Alaska resident were on some form of Medicaid as of Aug. 1. While the federal government pays the majority of costs, it remains one of the state’s most costly programs. The state funded $676 million of the $2.3 billion in Alaska Medicaid costs last year, officials said.

The governor and Legislature cut almost $160 million from the state share this year, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Finance Division.

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Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com

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