Preventive dental care program reinstated

State officials have reversed a decision to scrap Alaska’s adult preventive dental program for Medicaid recipients and will reinstate the program on Dec. 31, making those program services retroactively covered to Oct. 1.

The Department of Health and Social Services discontinued the program on Oct. 1, citing the action as part of an overall effort to address the state’s budget deficit.

According to DHHS Commissioner Adam Crum the decision to reinstate the program was based on extensive consultation between DHSS and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

State general funds of $8.3 million for the program get a federal match of $18.7 million.

The program covers adult dental services, including preventive and restorative dental care, including cleanings, fillings and restorative work.

“Initially we thought eliminating the program would be best but, because of the program’s complex rules and federal requirements, this was the more prudent option to benefit the health and well-being of Alaskans and our state’s fiscal sustainability,” Crum said.


DHSS spokesman Clinton Bennett said the agency is reviewing claims for those denied services from Oct. 1 and that he did not know when they would receive service.