HONOLULU (Oct. 1, 2018) -
AlohaCare and ‘Ohana Health Plan, a WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) company, announced today they will offer basic adult dental care coverage through each company’s expanded Medicaid offering beginning Jan. 1, 2019.
Since 2009, dental care coverage for adults enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program has been limited to emergency care. Hawaii has approximately 364,000 residents enrolled in Medicaid, a healthcare program funded by the state and federal government to provide access to healthcare for individuals with limited resources.
According to a 2015 report called, Hawaii Oral Health: Key Findings by the Hawaii Department of Health, many residents face dental health disparities—particularly among low-income residents who are less likely to see a dentist each year. The report also found many residents seek care for dental problems at hospital emergency departments, but these services are generally not available in these settings.
In an effort to promote better oral health among Hawaii residents, AlohaCare and ‘Ohana Health Plan will now cover the cost of basic dental for adults who have Medicaid as their sole source of medical insurance coverage. Members will have the benefit of an annual exam, fluoride treatment, a cleaning every six months, one set of bitewing x-rays per year and either a non-emergent tooth extraction or filling. Members with dual coverage (Medicaid and Medicare) will not qualify.
“Oral health is critical to good health and overall well-being,” said Scott Sivik, state president, ‘Ohana Health Plan. “The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body and provides clues about overall health and larger health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. At ‘Ohana Health Plan, we believe maintaining a healthy community means providing quality dental care to those who need it the most.”
“We are excited to address a major coverage disparity for adults covered by Medicaid in Hawaii,” said Laura Esslinger, chief executive officer, AlohaCare. “At last, adults who have QUEST Integration coverage will have access to oral healthcare to better integrate care and improve overall health and well-being.”
“We applaud ‘Ohana Health Plan and AlohaCare for recognizing that oral health is an integral part of a person’s well-being, and for launching this important Medicaid dental initiative,” said Sheila Beckham, chief executive officer, Waikiki Health Center. “Waikiki Health currently has over 5,000 patients on Medicaid who have been struggling to get basic dental benefits since 2009.”
LIBERTY Dental Plan currently contracts with local dentists and will manage the dental network for both health plans. “LIBERTY looks forward to our partnership with the local dental providers,” said Amir Neshat, D.D.S., founder and chief executive officer, LIBERTY Dental Plan. “We look forward to providing this valuable adult dental benefit as it will improve overall health.”
Medicaid beneficiaries who meet the requirements mentioned above and are not members of ʻOhana Health Plan or AlohaCare but wish to access these companies’ basic adult dental care coverage can enroll with AlohaCare or ‘Ohana Health Plan during Annual Plan Change from Oct. 1-31, 2018.
AlohaCare is a local, non-profit health plan founded in 1994 by Hawaii’s Community Health Centers. We are the third largest health plan in Hawaii and serve over 70,000 Medicaid and Medicare members. We partner with nearly 6,000 physicians, specialists and providers and have over 260 employees statewide. AlohaCare has offices located on all major islands. AlohaCare’s mission is to serve individuals and communities in the true spirit of aloha by ensuring and advocating for access to quality healthcare for all. We emphasize prevention and primary care through community health centers as well as with others that share our commitment.
About ‘Ohana Health Plan
'Ohana Health Plan has more than 250 employees in Hawaii and serves approximately 48,000 members through its offices in Kapolei, Honolulu, Hilo and Kahului. Since 2008, ‘Ohana Health Plan has served members throughout Hawaii and has taken WellCare’s national experience and developed an ‘Ohana Health Plan care model that addresses local members’ healthcare and health coordination needs. ‘Ohana Health Plan serves approximately 43,000 Medicaid members, 5,000 Medicare Advantage members and 400 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) members in Hawaii as of June 30, 2018. For more information about ‘Ohana Health Plan, please visit the company's website at www.ohanahealthplan.com.
About WellCare Health Plans, Inc.
Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) focuses exclusively on providing government-sponsored managed care services to families, children, seniors and individuals with complex medical needs primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, as well as individuals in the Health Insurance Marketplace. WellCare serves approximately 5.5 million members nationwide as of September 1, 2018. For more information about WellCare, please visit the company's website at www.wellcare.com.
About LIBERTY Dental Plan
LIBERTY Dental Plan was founded and is led by a dentist and administers full dental administrative services to over 4.1 million members in public and commercial programs in 50 states including approximately 2.8 million Medicaid members in Texas, California, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, and New York.
AlohaCare Media Contact:
Executive Vice President, External Affairs
‘Ohana Health Plan Media Contacts:
Ontai-LaGrange and Associates
Regional Communications Manager
LIBERTY Dental Plan Media Contact:
Executive Vice President