Alaska proposes eliminating Medicaid's preventive dental coverage for adults

In an effort to reduce Medicaid costs, Alaska's Health and Social Services Department proposed slashing adult preventive dental services, according to The Associated Press.

Adult preventive dental services are optional for Medicaid enrollees. The state said emergency dental care still would be provided to Medicaid patients.

Preventive dental care is among the services that bring people into clinics routinely, GOP Sen. Natasha von Imhof said at a budget hearing in February. She suggested cutting another optional service.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy is seeking to cut $225 million in Medicaid spending. The state said reducing $95 million of the $225 million will be achievable in the coming fiscal year.

To cut Medicaid spending, the state is rolling out two phases of initiatives. The first phase calls for Medicaid provider rate reductions for certain inpatient and outpatient hospital and specialty physician services. These changes would not affect critical access facilities.

In the first phase, the state's Medicaid program will also adopt a 24-hour hotline, cut the time for providers to file a claim in half, limit the number of physician visits and more carefully evaluate nonemergency air travel.

In the second phase, the state plans to ask CMS for additional flexibility. The changes will not affect Medicaid eligibility.

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