HONOLULU - Starting in January, Medicaid beneficiaries -- approximately 364,000 residents throughout Hawaii -- can enroll in basic adult dental care.

“At last, adults who have QUEST Integration coverage will have access to oral healthcare to better integrate care and improve overall health and well-being,” said Laura Esslinger, chief executive officer, AlohaCare.

According to a report by the Hawaii Department of Health, many residents face dental health issues-particularly among low-income residents who are less likely to see a dentist.

“Waikiki Health currently has over 5,000 patients on Medicaid who have been struggling to get basic dental benefits since 2009,” said Sheila Beckham, chief executive officer, Waikiki Health.

Members will now have the opportunity to see a dentist twice a year, receive an annual exam and fluoride treatment. Annual x-rays are also available, plus either a non emergent tooth extraction or filling.

“Oral health is critical to good health and overall well-being,” said Scott Sivik, state president, ‘Ohana Health Plan. “The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body and provides clues about overall health and larger health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.”

Both AlohaCare and Ohana Health Plan are ending their limited emergency coverage guidelines set back in 2009. 

Members with dual coverage do not qualify.