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Promote legislation that extends Medicaid dental benefits to former foster youth under age 26.

Oral health is a critical component of overall good health and yet remains a major unmet need for young adults in Maryland. As a result, many young people without access to regular dental care wind up in hospital emergency rooms for oral health issues. Expanding Medicaid dental benefits to former foster youth guarantees that the investment made in these youth while in foster care were not in vain and will bring their benefit package into alignment with that of other young adults who are able to stay on their parents’ plans to age 26. It will also save the money by avoiding costly ER visits for untreated oral health conditions.

Update:

February 3, 2016
Anna Davis, Health Policy Director, and Katie Rubinger, a graduate student intern at Advocates for Children and Youth, testified in support of SB252, which expands Medicaid dental benefits to former foster youth until age 26. Medicaid benefits for children in Maryland, including all those in the foster care system, include oral health services; however, dental care is not a part of the Medicaid benefit package for adults in Maryland. Former foster adolescents lose access to dental care at age 21 even though they are able to retain medical coverage through Medicaid until they turn 26. Advocates for Children and Youth believes that extending oral health benefits for this vulnerable population to their 26th birthday will be serving an identified unmet need in a cost effective way. To read testimony, click here.

February 9, 2016

Anna Davis, Health Policy Director, testified in support of HB511, the companion bill to SB252.  Delegate Cullison gave the introduction of the bill and provided compelling testimony.  Health Care for All! also submitted written testimony in support of both bills.

 April 12, 2016

ACY is thrilled to be able to report that HB511/SB252 passed the General Assembly on March 25th and was signed by the Governor today! This long overdue legislation clears the path for Maryland to provide critical Medicaid dental benefits to former foster youth during a critical transition period in their lives.