Rep. Bass Introduces Bipartisan Foster Youth Dental Act of 2021
Youth enrolled in Medicaid/CHIP have access to oral health care but the use of oral care services varies by state and many foster youth fall through the cracks of care because states often treat oral health care coverage as optional. Tooth decay is the most common chronic condition among US children. The Foster Youth Dental Act seeks to improve continuity of oral health care services for current and eligible former foster youth by increasing the eligibility age, expanding the covered oral health treatment, and providing incentives for dental providers to serve eligible youth.
“Especially in the midst of a global pandemic, it falls incumbent upon Congress to do everything we can to ensure we are providing the nearly half of a million youth in this country’s child welfare system with adequate health care,” said Rep. Bass. “The Foster Youth Dental Act of 2021 combats oral diseases like tooth decay by increasing eligibility for dental protections under Medicaid, providing incentives for dental providers to participate in these programs, enhancing outreach efforts for enrollment, and protecting existing coverage for foster youth. Congress must take up this bipartisan measure to protect our children.”
The Foster Youth Dental Act of 2021 would:
- Expand Medicaid oral health coverage by increasing the eligibility age from 21 years old to 25 years of age for former youth who are eligible for the foster youth Medicaid pathway.
- Provide incentives for dental providers by:
- Making the Medicaid reimbursement rate for oral health services provided to eligible patients equal to state’s median private sector dental payment rate.
- Allowing states to submit to CMS their median private sector dental payment rates.
- Applying the higher of the state-submitted median private sector dental rate and the national median private sector dental rate.
- Enhance outreach efforts to enroll former foster youth in Medicaid by having states establish an outreach and enrollment program in coordination with the State Title IV-E (foster care) and any other appropriate or interested agencies. States would also be required to establish an outreach program to dental health providers practicing in such State to increase the number of providers available to eligible patients.
- Protect existing coverage for foster youth by ensuring that foster youth who move between states don’t lose their Medicaid dental health insurance.