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Kentucky to finalize expanded Medicaid Benefits

Kentucky lawmakers next week are expected to finalize regulations that have expanded dental, vision and hearing benefits for Medicaid beneficiaries this year. Advocates for making them permanent say greater access to these services will make Kentucky’s population healthier.

Jefferson County resident Missy Newland said she’s experienced years of pain from cracked molars and a chronic condition that affects her gums. She said she previously avoided dental treatment because of the cost. Now, Newland is more likely to visit the dentist — knowing Medicaid will cover the bulk of her treatment.

“The regulations would definitely help people like my mom — people like me, people like my sister — who, if they don’t get help, they’re suffering,” she said.

Around 900,000 primarily low-income Kentuckians rely on Medicaid for their health care. According to Kentucky Voices for Health, since the new rules went into effect, Kentuckians have used their benefits for nearly 3,000 crowns, 2,000 root canals and nearly 6,000 partial or complete dentures.

For those who need them, Newland said, going without dentures often leads to a host of other health problems.

“As they get their teeth pulled, they’re losing their source of nutrition,” she said, “because your food choices are very limited if you don’t have dentures.”

Source : Commonwealth