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Legislature Passes Bill to Fix Adult Denture Program

SB 199 from Sen. Ellis Enables Seniors to Access Both Halves

of Dentures; State Maintains Cost Control

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 – Today, the Alaska House of Representatives passed SB 199, “Medicaid Coverage for Dentures,” sponsored by Senator Johnny Ellis, D-Anchorage. The bill changes the Medicaid Adult Dental program to allow eligible seniors to get their upper and lower dentures in a single fiscal year.

“We all benefit when services can be provided in the most medically effective and most cost effective way possible,” said Senator Ellis. “This common-sense bill fixes the kind of problem that gives good people in government a bad name and I’m gratified the bill had bi-partisan support in both the House and Senate.”

The Medicaid Adult Dental program was created in 2006 to expand coverage from emergency care to include preventative and restorative care, including dentures. The program allows a maximum of $1,150 in benefits per patient per year, a level set at the cost of one half of a set of dentures. Senate Bill 199 allows a patient to access two years of funding (without additional state money required) to receive a full set of dentures at the most medically appropriate time.

“This bill will benefit the state economically by eliminating unnecessary travel costs and reducing the need for oral surgeries that become emergencies because of delay,” said Dr. Dave Logan of the Alaska Dental Society. “My only regret is that the Alaska Dental Society didn’t think of it themselves; it is an elegant solution to a long-standing problem, one that is good for the state, good for the dental providers and especially great for the recipients.”

Other supporters of the legislation include AARP-Alaska, the Alaska Primary Care Association, the Alaska Public health Association, and the state’s joint advocacy boards. Senate Bill 199 now heads to the Governor’s desk for signature.

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