AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Janet Mills announced an expansion of MaineCare dental coverage Wednesday afternoon for adults, which will also increase reimbursement rates for dental providers starting July 1, according to a news release issued by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.
MaineCare recipients ages 21 and older will be automatically enrolled in the expanded dental coverage benefit plan, which is anticipated to benefit more than 200,000 Mainers.
Providers serving children and adults can expect to see a 70 percent increase on average in support for diagnostic and preventative service rates to reportedly reduce future costs of oral healthcare services, according to the release.
The expansion comes as a part of $45 million invested in oral health as incorporated in Maine's 2022-2023 Biennial Budget targeting preventative dental care, reportedly doubling its previous funding allocation.
“Dental health is an important part of overall health,” Mills stated in the release. “Providing preventive and routine dental care will not only improve the health and wellness of hundreds of thousands of Maine people, but it will also save money in the long-run by preventing the need for expensive emergency care. I am glad to have worked with the Legislature to expand dental care for Maine people.”
The release states the MaineCare dental expansion comes after a year-long effort by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services alongside dental providers and oral health leaders to implement Speaker of the House Ryan Fecteau’s bill, LD 996, An Act To Improve Dental Health Access for Maine Children and Adults with Low Incomes, which was unanimously supported.
“With MaineCare covering 1 in 4 people in Maine, this new dental coverage combined with higher reimbursement rates will benefit hundreds of thousands of Maine people,” DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said in the release. “Oral health is critical to general health and to participating in the community and the workforce. We’re grateful to the Governor, Speaker Fecteau and the Legislature, and our partners throughout the state for making this important benefit a reality.”