California’s state budget for 2018-19 contains a significant increase in funding for Denti-Cal, the Medi-Cal dental program. Signed by Governor Jerry Brown on June 27th, 2018, the budget will dedicate almost $600 million to improving access to dental care for millions of Californians.We’ve written here before about legislative efforts in California to increase payments for Denti-Cal providers. The state has some of the lowest reimbursement rates in the nation.
Governor Brown’s budget will take funds generated by the California Healthcare, Research, and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016 (Proposition 56—also known as the Tobacco Tax) and funnel them to Medi-Cal programs. As a result, Denti-Cal providers will receive $210 million in the form of higher reimbursement rates on hundreds of CDT codes.
Information published by the American Dental Association (ADA) and the California Dental Association (CDA) explains that providers will now be reimbursed for common services at up to 90 percent of commercial rates. That increase more than doubles the rates Denti-Cal providers were seeing before.
The state budget also contains a one-time allocation of $30 million for student loan repayment to encourage dentists to serve more Californians covered by Denti-Cal.
The new rate package went into effect on July 1st, 2018. Providers do not need to take any action, as the supplemental payments will automatically be applied to their reimbursement checks.
For more information regarding the changes to Denti-Cal, the CDA offers resources for California dentists online.