More Ohioans will have access to dental care through Medicaid ex - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

More Ohioans will have access to dental care through Medicaid expansion

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - While some believe the Affordable Care Act has the potential to reshape health care in America, it appears the law does little to address the country's dental care needs.  

"Access to dental care it is multi factorial.  It is a very complex problem and certainly volunteering isn't going to solve it," said Dr. Marybeth Shaffer with the Cordyn Palmer Dental Society.

In Ohio, dental care is the number one unmet health care need for both adults and children.  Many dental professionals, like Dr. Marybeth Shaffer, are hopeful the expansion of Medicaid will help put a dent in the problem.

"One of the things we are very fortunate for in Ohio is that our governor and legislature has continued to fund adult dental medicaid benefits, which helps a lot," said Dr. Shaffer.

By 2018,  it is believed nearly 7.5 million adults and children will have gained dental benefits through Medicaid expansion.  Another 19.5 million are expected to receive coverage through private insurance and insurance purchased through the exchanges.

"I think legislation to expand dental services to adults in many different forms is going to have to become a necessity and one that the public needs to advocate for as well.  Good oral health is part of overall well being and health," said Dr. Shaffer.

The additional Ohioans eligible for Medicaid benefits can begin receiving coverage January 1, 2014.

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