BOISE – When Idaho eliminated non-emergency adult dental coverage under its Medicaid program in 2011, it hoped to save money, but it didn’t.
Instead, emergency room costs ballooned, with dental-related emergency room services more than doubling from $30,000 a month in 2011 to $65,000 a month today. Now, the state is looking to restore the coverage.
“It’s an important reinstatement of services,” said Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, a physician who serves on the Legislature’s joint budget committee. He noted that he debated against the cut in the Senate in 2011, saying, “You can save money in your car by not changing the oil, but that’s not the right way to save money.”
Idaho Health and Welfare Director Dick Armstrong said the 2011 cut, which removed dental coverage for 42,000 adults, backfired. In just one case, sepsis caused by an abscessed tooth cost the Medicaid program $300,000 in medical costs that could have been avoided. More here. Betsy Russell, SR
How could anyone have thought this was a good idea?