While regular dental care is vital to good oral hygiene, it can also greatly impact overall health. When left untreated, even common dental concerns like cavities can lead to abscesses and infections that can spread to the heart or other vital organs. Missing teeth that are never replaced can also lead to structural changes in the jaw, and pain from dental health concerns can make it difficult to chew, possibly leading to poor nutrition and further harm to the body.

As a result, preventive maintenance is important, but so is expedience in addressing issues that come up over time. This is true for both adults and children, and dental concerns can have a negative impact on people across all ages and backgrounds.  Seniors, individuals with disabilities, and those on limited incomes often suffer the most.

How People Pay for Dental Care
As impactful as dental issues can be to overall health, dental services can be expensive, even when an individual is covered by private insurance. Many private insurers provide coverage for dental care separately from general health insurance products, and dental insurance can also cost considerably more. If you’re unable to obtain affordable dental insurance, many dental offices provide payment programs that can spread payments over time in order to ease the financial burden caused by dental procedures.

Some people, however, are able to qualify for programs like Medicaid and Medicare that may provide dental benefits. These programs can vary between providers from state to state.  Most programs have stipulations regarding what is and is not covered for dental health care. Additionally, not all dentists provide care for patients covered under such programs. Original Medicare does not provide dental coverage at all, but a Medicare Advantage plan may offer dental benefits. Medicaid, on the other hand, may cover specific dental care needs, but once again, this depends on the state from which coverage is obtained.

Does Virginia Medicaid Cover Dental?
Dental services may be covered in Virginia for people who qualify for subsidized healthcare, but the coverage options differ between adults and children and may be limited in scope. Adults may be able to receive coverage under the program when dental care is affecting overall health. Coverage is not provided for routine dental maintenance, but it is usually available for oral surgery. When surgery needs to be performed, diagnostic services are also included as they are required to complete the work.

Children in Virginia receive coverage under the state’s medical assistance program as well as the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. Through these programs, children receive complete care for everything related to dental health, including cleanings, exams and fillings. The difference between these two programs, however, comes down to income. If a Virginia family earns too much to be considered for medical aid through the state, but they are still struggling to cover medical expenses, the family’s children may qualify for CHIP. Again, this is only coverage for children and not adults in the family.

Cost-Sharing Programs as an Alternative to Insurance
If someone in Virginia does not qualify for a state-supported medical aid program and is unable to obtain medical insurance, cost-sharing programs may be the answer. A cost-sharing program acts like insurance in that it provides financial support for healthcare needs, but unlike insurance, these programs typically have limitations regarding maximum payouts. Additionally, many of these programs will have stipulations regarding what services they will cover and who will qualify. It’s important to do your research prior to joining such a program to avoid surprises down the road.

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