A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

The People Behind the MassHealth Dental Cuts:

The People Behind the MassHealth Dental Cuts:

November 19, 2010

The People Behind the MassHealth Dental Cuts:
Food, Winter Coat or Dental Care?

We recently met with Cynthia, a MassHealth recipient who has lost most of her dental benefits due to the recent cuts. She is struggling with dental pain that makes it difficult to eat the healthy diet required by her diabetes. Because of the devastation to the MassHealth adult dental program, the only way to stop this pain is with an extraction- without the option of an implant to replace her tooth.

Cynthia is understandably anxious about losing her tooth- she is worried about eating with a space in her mouth, and her dentist has told her that it is not the best option because her other teeth will shift out of alignment to try to compensate.

Unfortunately, even with some of the discount programs offered for care, paying out-of-pocket for an implant would place a tremendous strain on Cynthia’s budget. “I really wanted to get a warm coat for the winter, but I guess I’ll have to wait until next year,” she explains. “I’m not sure why I have to choose between health care and food, but I don’t know how I can afford both,” she continued.

We know there is a serious gap in our system of care when people are forced to make these kinds of choices. MassHealth adult dental benefits are a huge missing piece in this puzzle, and must be restored as soon as possible.

-Christine Keeves