Virginia’s Medicaid expands, now covers dental and prenatal services

Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 6:19 PM EDT
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NEW RIVER VALLEY, Va. (WDBJ) - Virginia’s Medicaid has now expanded to include dental benefits and prenatal services.

Before the recent expansion, Virginia’s Medicaid dental benefits were only available for children and teens, but they now include adults.

“Adults that’s enrolled in Medicaid ages 19 to 64 would now be eligible for dental benefits, and that would include things like preventative care, dentures, fillings, cleanings and many more benefits--- root canals included as well,” said Amber Poron, a Navigator Outreach Coordinator for Virginia Poverty Law Center.

New and current enrollees will be able to access full dental services including X-Rays, exams, root canals, oral surgeries and more.

“So it’s really very important because a lot of people have gone several years without getting the dental care that’s needed, and your dental care can affect your overall health,” said Poron.

Leaders from Virginia’s Poverty Law Center also say this decision to expand these services is historic and may result in thousands more Virginians enrolling in Medicaid.

“The majority of people are interested in getting care for their teeth done, so I feel like this might be the deciding factor for some people that have not wanted to enroll in Medicaid. And now they’re able to get the dental benefits and maybe that will make it worth it for them,” said Poron.

But there’s another part to this expansion. Pregnant women, regardless of immigration status, will now have access to full coverage through Medicaid. Services include: comprehensive healthcare and dental benefits during pregnancy, prenatal wellness checkups, ultrasounds and breastfeeding support.

“But what a lot of people don’t know is within those prenatal benefits you actually get comprehensive health care for that entire year that you’re enrolled. And so you can get anything from like the wellness checkup to general health care to all of your prenatal checkups as well,” said Poron.

The prenatal benefits will also continue 60 days post-partum.

“They get that prenatal care and take care of yourself and your unborn child as well. All the way up to the day of birth,” said Poron.

Enroll Virginia, a nonprofit project of the Virginia Poverty Law Center, says it can help those looking to enroll in Medicaid. They anticipate seeing more Virginians sign-up as news of the expansion continues to spread.

Since the state expanded Medicaid in 2019, more than 500,000 people have enrolled in the program.

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