New initiatives expand Medicaid benefits for dental care, post-pregnancy care

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Two funding initiatives approved this legislative session extend health care benefits for those relying on Medicaid.

The Hawaii Oral Health Coalition has been working to expand dental care benefits after funding was cut in 2008. The passage of HB1600 dedicates $26 million to over 200,000 Medicaid beneficiaries.

“As advocates of oral health we know that this funding means one very significant barrier has been overcome, the cost, but as a dentist I am cautiously optimistic because I know how hard it can be to effect long term change,” said Hawaii Oral Health Coalition chair Dr. Anthony Kim.

Funding was also approved to extend health care for mothers relying on Medicaid — providing new moms a full year of post-pregnancy health coverage.

“The funding is really significant because right now in Hawaii 1 in 3 births are by people who rely on Medicaid for their health insurance and with this new funding there’s an important opportunity to improve outcomes,” said AlohaCare Executive Vice President Paula Arcena.

Prior to the passing of this initiative, mothers relying on Medicaid were given 60 days of postpartum coverage.

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