Minnesota invests $61M to boost dental reimbursement rates, improve access to care

The Minnesota Department of Human Services implemented a base dental reimbursement rate increase Jan. 1.

This increase is part of a $61 million dental package to make oral healthcare more accessible.

The previous model made reimbursements dependent on factors such as provider's location and patient's age. This led to dental providers avoiding serving patients who used public programs like Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare.

Under the new model, all dentists receive the same rates for the same services. This applies to both Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare.

Managed care rates for dental care will have to at least match DHS' fee-for-service rates. It is also required that managed care organizations give dental providers their fee schedules when asked, offering more transparency about pay.

The goal of the new model is to ensure those in public healthcare programs receive dental care. One annual dental visit for at least 45 percent of those enrolled is the goal for 2022.

For managed care organizations that don't meet the goal, DHS plans to carve out the dental benefit and administer dental coverage directly for all enrolled in public programs.

Jodi Harpstead, human services commissioner, said: "Our goal is to create more options for Minnesotans who need dental care. By supporting dentists with fair rates, this investment will make it easier for people in public health care programs to get the dental care that’s so important to their daily lives and overall well-being. The strong support and tireless work of our legislative committee chairs in both the House and Senate made this change possible."

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