Kentucky Medicaid insurer to cut dentists' reimbursement up to 35%

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Kentucky Medicaid insurer Passport Health Plan is set to slash reimbursement rates for dental surgeons by up to 35 percent, two dental surgeons confirmed to Insider Louisville.

The reimbursement cuts may force dentists to stop accepting Medicaid patients, the dental surgeons said. Patients will turn to emergency rooms to undergo dental procedures, which may drive up healthcare costs throughout the state, Insider reports.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeon Richard Pape, DDS, is among the dental providers in Kentucky that was told the Medicaid insurer was making "a material change." If dentists do not reach an agreement with Passport, the insurer's dental contractor Avesis said it would "unwind our friendship."

Around 30 percent of Dr. Pape's patients are Medicaid beneficiaries. He was told by Passport that his reimbursement total for anesthetizing a patient for wisdom teeth extraction would be cut to $67. Dr. Pape charges patients with private insurance $400, reports Insider.

Dr. Pape told the insurer that if the reimbursement cuts are finalized, he will stop accepting Medicaid patients in September.

Passport oversees Medicaid benefits for 305,000 Kentucky residents.

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