Think Teeth! Promoting Medicaid and CHIP Enrollment and the Dental Benefits They Provide

February 6, 2015

February is National Children's Dental Health Month! Early dental care is critical for promoting good oral health habits. Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) cover children's dental services, such as teeth cleanings, check-ups, x-rays, fluoride, dental sealants and fillings. Knowing that these benefits are available can motivate parents to enroll their eligible children in Medicaid and CHIP. You can help families locate dental providers that accept Medicaid and CHIP using the Insure Kids Now Dental Provider Locator Tool featured on each state summary page. You can also embed the tool on your website to connect families directly to services.

Campaign in Action

Work with oral health providers in your community to promote health coverage enrollment. One Connecting Kids to Coverage grantee, The Telluride Foundation in Colorado, uses mobile school-based oral health clinics to reach children in rural areas—reducing by nearly 50 percent the percentage of children in their tri-county region who have not visited a dentist. A Medicaid and CHIP enrollment assistor is on board to help parents apply for coverage on the spot. In Philadelphia, Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) conducts Medicaid and CHIP enrollment alongside free dental services at their annual Give Kids a Smile event. If you're interested in partnering with providers, find your state oral health coalition through the American Network of Oral Health Coalitions member map.

The Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign will host a webinar later this month on linking oral health benefits to Medicaid and CHIP outreach. Look for an invitation with more details coming soon.

Think Teeth Twitter Storm: Mark your calendars for "Think Teeth Thursday" on February 19, 2015!!

Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign partner, the Children's Dental Health Project (CDHP), is hosting a 30-minute Twitter Storm on February 19th at 2:00 p.m. ET in honor of National Children's Dental Health Month, to get the word out about dental services covered by Medicaid and CHIP and to promote the "Think Teeth" resources available to parents, pregnant women and health professionals.

It is easy for groups to participate! CDHP has created a social media kit with dozens of messages and social media graphics which can be posted on Twitter. All messages will carry the #ThinkTeeth hashtag. (If you only have a Facebook account, post messages there.) Organizations interested in participating should contact Shante Alerte at salerte@cdhp.org to receive the social media kit. Follow CDHP on Twitter: @Teeth_Matter.

Partner Spotlight

Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign partner Oral Health America (OHA) has several initiatives to improve children's oral health and increase access to care, including its Smiles Across America®(SAA) program. SAA supports oral disease prevention services in school- based or school-linked settings for children who are uninsured and underserved due to issues of poverty–lack of resources, transportation barriers, low literacy and language diversity. SAA reaches more than 460,000 children annually and has program partners in 47 states who promote the availability of free and low-cost coverage available through Medicaid and CHIP. To connect with OHA's SAA program visit oralhealthamerica.org.

Campaign Materials

The "Think Teeth" oral health materials were created by the Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign to promote healthy habits and the importance of dental coverage for children and teens. Display a poster at your enrollment events, provide tear-pads or flyers to local health providers or post web buttons and banners on your website. The Campaign also developed this new flyer (also available in Spanish) about promoting oral health care for children with special needs. Find all of the free “Think Teeth” materials on the InsureKids Now Improving Oral Health Initiative page.

Stay Connected With the National Campaign – In 3 Easy Steps

  • Follow the Campaign on Twitter. Don't forget to re-tweet or share our messages with your network or use our #Enroll365 hashtag in your posts.
  • Share our materials widely. We have more than 50 National Campaign resources available, including translated print materials, to use in outreach and enrollment efforts.
  • Contact us to get more involved with the National Campaign at ConnectingKids@cms.hhs.gov or 1-855-313-KIDS (5437).

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