Dental care is about to get a whole lot better for five million New Yorkers who don’t currently have the coverage they need to properly care for their teeth.

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Around five million New Yorkers who use Medicaid will soon see expanded dental coverage, the result of a 2018 federal class action lawsuit against the Department of Health which resulted in a settlement.

The federal class action lawsuit claimed that many low income New Yorkers were being denied medically necessary dental care by New York State. Additionally, many New Yorkers were being denied Medicaid for basic dental needs.

Until now, the general idea was to pull the teeth of Medicaid patients rather than attempt to fix them. Under current New York law, essential dental care is based on what is called the ‘dental manual.’ Currently, the dental manual states that a New Yorker only needs to have four pair of back teeth in addition to front teeth to function.

That is all about to change. 

The settlement of the 2018 federal class action lawsuit against the New York State Department of Health requires Medicaid find better ways to treat and keep teeth that can be saved instead of simply extracting them.

Not only are New Yorkers who are on Medicaid excited about the changes, but the New York State Dental Association also is and in a statement reiterated that it advocates for “the prioritization of access and expanded coverage for medically necessary procedures that significantly benefit the patient’s well-being.”

The settlement will go into effect 90 days after it is approved by the court.

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