WellCare of Kentucky’s oral health initiatives yield positive results for Medicaid members

WellCare Health Plans, Inc. announced positive results from initiatives aimed at improving the oral health of its Medicaid members in Kentucky.

Since November 2011, when the company began serving the state’s Medicaid population, WellCare of Kentucky’s oral health initiatives increased the number of WellCare dental providers by 114 percent, expanded the network into 12 additional counties and grew the number of WellCare provider locations by 67 percent. WellCare also added specialists for periodontics, and oral and maxillofacial pathology to its dental network.

In 2012, to increase preventive appointments, the company identified and contacted members who were due for an annual appointment and provided an incentive to encourage visits. As a result, more than 1,500 WellCare Medicaid members, who otherwise would not have had a preventive dental visit, took advantage of this benefit.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranks Kentucky 45th among the states for the percentage of adults over age 18 who made a dental visit within the past year, and according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, only 43 percent of children in Kentucky received an annual preventive care visit in the past year.

“Oral health is a key component of overall physical health,” said Kelly Munson, chief operating officer of WellCare of Kentucky. “In Kentucky, WellCare is focused on expanding its network of dental providers, educating about the importance of oral health and encouraging annual preventive dental screenings to help our members lead better, healthier lives.”

The member outreach and incentives program continues in 2013. WellCare of Kentucky Medicaid members can call 1-877-389-9457 and 1-877-247-6272 for more information about their dental benefits.

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