Medicaid patients in New Hampshire can't get dental appointments after coverage expansion

More than three months after New Hampshire expanded dental coverage for adults on Medicaid, many patients are still unable to book a visit to the dentist, according to a July 5 report by the New Hampshire Bulletin

Fewer than 15 percent of all dentists and oral surgeons in the state have signed up for the New Hampshire Smiles Adults Program. Many practices do not have any appointment openings for months or years. 

The main reasons for the lack of participation from providers is because of a lack of staff — dentists, dental assistants and dental hygienists — and that Medicaid reimbursements for many procedures only cover 50 percent of the costs, the report said. 

The state expects more than 21,000 adults to utilize the new program in the first year, which expanded benefits to include X-rays and examinations, cleanings, fillings, limited gum-related treatment, tooth extractions and other oral surgeries starting in April. 

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