H.C.R. NO.














urging the Department of Human Services to conduct a full study on the reimplementation of adult dental benefits for Hawaii residents WHO ARE MEDICAID ENROLLEES AND TO SUBMIT A REPORT TO THE LEGISLATURE.




     WHEREAS, the Legislature finds that oral disease is a significant health problem among many Hawaii residents, affecting their overall health and well-being; and


     WHEREAS, access to regular oral health care varies greatly across the State, with rural and neighbor island residents and low-income families experiencing greater access issues; and


     WHEREAS, lack of access to dental coverage and oral health care is a social justice issue that disproportionately affects the poor, children, the elderly, and racial and ethnic minority groups; and


     WHEREAS, poor oral health can negatively impact an individual's health and self-image; and


     WHEREAS, poor oral health has been linked to an array of acute and chronic health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, depression, low birth weight, and premature birth; and


     WHEREAS, untreated dental disease can result in a loss of productivity in the work place due to absenteeism, under-employment, and unemployment; and


     WHEREAS, having dental benefits is a key factor in an individual's ability to access dental care; and

     WHEREAS, the prevalence of dental disease and tooth loss is disproportionately high among low-income populations which include many individuals enrolled in Medicaid; and


     WHEREAS, insufficient coverage or access to dental care often further disadvantages Medicaid recipients, potentially leading to worse health outcomes and higher costs; and


     WHEREAS, nationally, studies have shown that reducing or eliminating Medicaid adult dental benefits has led to significant increases in dental-related emergency room visits and associated costs; and


     WHEREAS, it has been nearly a decade since the State removed all but emergency Medicaid adult dental benefits, and the Legislature finds that it is in the best interest of its residents to consider restoring dental benefits, including diagnostic, preventive, and restorative dental benefits, and to expand access to care for adult Medicaid enrollees; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Thirtieth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2019, the Senate concurring, that this body urges the Department of Human Services to conduct a full study on the reimplementation of adult dental benefits for Hawaii residents who are Medicaid enrollees; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the study include:


     (1)  The full cost to restore preventative and restorative adult dental benefits to Medicaid enrollees, including federal matching funds; and


     (2)  A projection, to the best of the Department of Human Services' ability, of the long-term cost savings of reimplementing adult dental benefits; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Human Services is requested to submit a report of its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the Legislature no later than 20 days before the convening of the Regular Session of 2020; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Governor, Director of Human Services, and Director of Health.









Report Title: 

Adult Dental Benefits; Medicaid