Updated 1/3/18 09:30
You may have received a letter telling you that your Dental plan has changed. That’s because Arkansas Medicaid has moved their dental coverage to managed care. There are 2 companies: Delta Dental and MCNA. You will be assigned to one, and you have 90 days to switch.
We requested information on the change, and this was DHS’ response:
The Arkansas Department of Human Services is changing its dental program. Beginning January 1, 2018, two companies will provide dental coverage for families enrolled in Medicaid. Those companies are:
- Delta Dental of Arkansas
- Managed Care of North America (MCNA)
There will be no changes to the dental services that are covered. Families will be assigned to one of the two companies in December 2017 and will get new dental cards and a welcome packet in the mail for each enrolled family member.
If members want to switch to the other company, they will have 90 days to do so.
Families can begin scheduling appointments for covered dental services after January 1, 2018. Information about what is covered will be in the welcome packet.
Clients living in Human Development Centers, individuals enrolled in the Program for All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), and individuals who are eligible for Medicaid only after incurring medical expenses that cause them to “spend down” to Medicaid eligibility levels will not be enrolled in a dental plan.
It is important to note that as new beneficiaries apply for Arkansas Medicaid benefits, if they qualify for dental benefits, it will take between 15 and 45 days for them to be assigned to a plan and for the plan to complete the enrollment process.
Then we requested information on the difference between the companies, and this is what DHS said about the new dental plans:
The benefits are identical and the number of dentists in each network is very close to the same (within 1%). The only real difference I can recommend is for the client to check to see if their preferred dentist is in the network to which they were assigned. If confirmed, I suggest they stay with that plan. If not, they should check with the other option to see if their preferred dentist is in that network and they will have until the end of March to change plans if they want to.
Both companies are very good at what they do and have been excellent partners for us to work with.
We also asked DHS to address the rumor that ACH Dentists won’t be covered:
Delta Dental AR has 12 of 17 dental providers at ACH credentialed and in the network. The other five have submitted their applications and are undergoing the credentialing process with the expectation that they will also be admitted to the Delta network. They added that MCNA has also had a meeting with ACH, so we can hopefully expect them to cover ACH dentists as well.
After the new year, DHS sent us more clarifying information on the providers who are included:
[We want to] share the details below to demonstrate how very close the dental provider counts are between the two managed dental care organizations now serving Medicaid clients. MCNA received slightly fewer enrollees due to assignments happening by family (keeping family members in the same plan) but the total number of providers in each network varied by 1 last month. Both companies are continuing to enroll providers including ACH.
On 12/15/17 (the last phase of the auto assignment period) a total of 610,945 beneficiaries were assigned to our two dental managed care companies as follows:
- MCNA – 304,789
- Delta Dental of Arkansas – 306,156
As you know, there will be some movement as beneficiaries work through their 90 day choice period.
As of 12/20/17 the two MCO’s have contracted with, or have contracts pending for the following number of dental providers:
- Contracts complete – 646
- Contracts pending – 60
- 706 Dental Providers
- Delta Dental of Arkansas
- Contracts complete – 673
- Contracts pending – 34
- 707 Dental Providers