3 Common Qualifications for Low-Income Dentistry Treatments
There are a number of dental resources for low-income individuals and families, such as medical insurance programs and local government departments. Plans and options may vary based on the state. Most Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP programs also offer dental coverage, though there may be limitations on such coverage. For example, Medicaid does not cover routine cleanings or dentures. Medicare and CHIP programs set their own eligibility guidelines by state. If these resources do not suffice for the care needed, dental schools or charitable organizations, such as United Way, can be consulted.
Those who wish to apply for a Medicare plan that offers dental coverage must be age 65 or older, a permanent resident of the United States and must qualify for Social Security benefits. Medicaid is a federal government program offered to Americans under 65. Dental coverage plans through Medicaid may be included depending on the state. To qualify, you must have an annual income at or below the poverty level, a measure that changes yearly. Non-financial factors, such as residency and immigration status, are also considered. Most children are accepted into the CHIP dental program if their families make too much to receive Medicaid. Children must be under age 19 and U.S. residents.
When applying for any federal or local government dental assistance, you are required to provide your annual gross income numbers and fill out appropriate applications. You are also required to show valid state identification as proof of residency. Depending on where you receive dental procedures, you may be additionally required to show financial information to the provider to ensure eligibility with a specific facility.
How to Apply
Individuals and families can apply for dental assistance programs online through the Medicare and Medicaid websites directly. People can also apply in person through their local Department of Human Services office.
Before spending time filling out applications, it is best to speak with a state representative at your local department of human services office to make sure you understand all the stipulations.
If you decide to seek dental assistance through a school or non-profit agency, call ahead to make sure you meet any specific qualifications and to ensure you bring the required documentation with you to the appointment.
Depending on the severity of your dental needs, different programs may be more suitable. For example, Medicare dental plans might pay for teeth removal, but not for dentures. In this case, you should seek assistance through a charitable program. Dental Lifeline Network is a popular, national nonprofit that caters to underserved areas, aiding everyone from seniors to children. If you are under the age of 65 and have children, CHIP is an excellent dental assistance program. In some states, CHIP even assists parents and pregnant women.
If you are unsure which program is best for you and your family, contact your local Department of Human Services office for assistance.