Nearly 370,000 Hoosiers lost dental insurance last year.

Nearly 370,000 Hoosiers lost dental insurance last year, according to a study by a nonprofit that tracks dental care services. Without insurance, families and children may be unable to get dental cleanings, dental exams, cavity fillings and surgeries. in addition. Poor oral health can lead to other health problems and increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease.

The study, released by Dr. Kaz Rafia, chief health equity officer at CareQuest Oral Health Institute in Boston, said the pandemic is helping countries ensure Medicaid dental coverage. After Era policies ended, the number of insured households in Indiana dropped sharply.

Some people have lost their insurance because of paperwork issues. Others are no longer eligible for Medicaid but may not have private insurance, Lafia said.

“People end up in emergency rooms because they don't have the means to get their most urgent and low-cost dental needs met, which results in more expensive care,” he said. That cost can be passed on to the public through taxes and private insurance premiums. Everyone else.

Poor dental health can also make it difficult to find a job or result in absences from work, Rafia said.

Dental problems are common across the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four adults has untreated tooth decay. Low-income individuals and people of color are more likely to have limited access to dental care, leaving them without treatment.

Tooth decay and cavities can lead to tooth loss.

One possible solution, Lafia said, would be to automatically enroll eligible people into government coverage so paperwork issues don't hinder coverage. Another solution is to reduce the frequency of the Medicaid renewal process.

“Can you imagine if your driver's license needed to be renewed every year?” he said. “Can you imagine how many of us would be pulled over and how many of us would end up losing our driving privilege because it has to be renewed every year?”

Huang Binghui can be reached at 317-385-1595 or via email at

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