Illinois' Medicaid program will soon provide preventative dental care for almost half a million low-income residents.
Gov. Bruce Rauner recently signed the addition into law as part of a bipartisan agreement on the fiscal 2019 state budget.
The expansion of dental coverage is estimated to cost the state an additional $8 million to $12 million annually, half of which the federal government will reimburse. Dental services include periodic exams and teeth cleanings that'll come with minimal out of pocket costs.
Democratic Rep. Greg Harris of Chicago says the expansion is expected to create savings by avoiding or delaying costly restorative services for adults, such as fillings and extractions.
Greg Johnson is executive director of the Illinois State Dental Society. He says many Medicaid patients have avoided getting preventative care because of fees.