All you need to know when using your Medi-Cal dental benefits at your preferred San Diego dentist
Have you ever put off or completely skipped a trip to the dentist because you were worried about the bill?
Has your dental care ever had to take a back seat for financial reasons?
Don’t worry, California has your back.
See, if you live in California, you have a trick up your sleeve that you might not have used before or even knew you had.
This trick could help make your dentist visits more affordable, not to mention your healthcare as a whole.
Okay, enough pretending like you didn’t already read it in the title.
Let’s get started.
What is Medi-Cal?
Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid program. Under the Affordable Care Act, Medi-Cal offers free or low-cost brand name healthcare to eligible and lawfully present California residents.
This affordable healthcare option is available to eligible single adults, married adults with or without children, children, and pregnant women. So, virtually everyone – as long as they qualify.
Medi-Cal provides coverage for everything from primary care to emergency services to vision and dental care.
- Routine dental exams, x-rays, and cleanings
- Fillings and crowns
- Root canals
- Partial and full dentures
- Tooth extractions
- Emergency services
- And much more!
Not a bad deal to have just for living somewhere, right? It gets better.
Medi-Cal dental is just as easy to use as regular dental insurance. If you qualify, you and any eligible family members will receive your benefits identification card by mail. Then all you have to do is flash your new card at your local San Diego dentist’s office to start reaping the rewards.
Do I Qualify for Medi-Cal Dental?
Once you check the lawfully-residing California resident box, Medi-Cal will look at your income to see if you qualify. They also use your marital status, family size, and total household income to determine your eligibility.
You might qualify for Medi-Cal dental if you use other services such as CalFresh, SSI/SSP, CalWorks, Refugee Assistance, or the Foster Care or Adoption Assistance Program.
Additionally, they extend benefits to people in various situations and stages of life, such as:
- People 65 or older
- Disabled and blind people
- People under 21
- Pregnant women
- Residents in nursing or intermediate care homes
- People diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer
- Parents or caretakers of disadvantaged children under 21
How Do I Apply for Medi-Cal Dental?
With four ways to get the job done, applying for Medi-Cal dental is easy and convenient. You can apply online, over the phone, by mail, or in person.
Completing the online registration process at Covered California’s website will take about an hour and is the quickest way to see if you qualify for dental benefits.
You can also call the number on Covered California’s website to set up a callback with a certified enroller that will walk you through the application process.
If you’d like to apply in person, you’ll need to pay a visit to your county’s social services office.
And for mail-in applications, print and fill out the form on the Department of Health Care Services website, then send it to your local social services office.
Of course, no application would be complete without the right amount of personal paperwork. Here’s what you need to apply:
- Tax returns for all applicants who file taxes
- The number of people in your family
- Social security numbers for all family members
- Immigration documents if applicable
- Income information for all family members
Once they receive your application, Medi-Cal will send you a response within ten to fifteen days outlining whether you qualify and which program you’re eligible for.
By the way, open enrollment started on November 1st, so don’t wait to find out if you’re eligible!
The worst they could say is no, and you might be leaving a lot of money on the table if you miss out.
What Does My Medi-Cal Dental Care Plan Look Like?
Let’s say you turned in your application, you waited the fifteen days, and you got a message back saying you qualified. Congratulations!
Now what? What can you expect from your new dental care plan?
Medi-Cal Covered Services
Whether you’re taking your baby in for their very first checkup or you need senior dental care, Medi-Cal provides a wide range of services for people of all ages:
- Infant & Toddler care: Making sure your child’s teeth are taken care of is the first step towards a lifetime of good dental health. Medi-Cal will cover either all or a portion of the following services for your baby or toddler:
- Baby’s first dental exam
- Dental exams (every six months; every three months from birth to age 3)
- Teeth cleaning (every six months)
- Fluoride varnish (every six months)
- Tooth removal
- Emergency and outpatient services
- Sedation (if medically necessary)
- Teen care: For teens, your Medi-Cal plan will provide full or partial coverage for the same services listed above, plus braces for qualifying members, crowns, root canals, partial and full dentures, and scaling and root planing treatments.
- Adult & Senior care: Dental exams, teeth cleanings, and fluoride varnishes are covered in part or in full once every 12 months for adults and seniors, along with the services mentioned above and denture relines.
With Medi-Cal, you could have an annual max of up to $1,800, and if you’re pregnant or a senior, you could qualify for no annual max.
Not all families are required to pay premiums, but if you are, don’t sweat it.
The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) states that premiums for family Medi-Cal plans are set at $13 for each child and no more than $39 per family per month. There are a few ways you can receive discounted premiums as well:
- Pay three months in advance and get the fourth month free
- Set up automatic online payments and receive a 25% discount, or
- Pay by Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) and get 25% off.
Which Dental Care Providers Accept Medi-Cal?
That’s an easy one. To find a participating dental practice in your area, you can search using Medi-Cal’s provider directory.
Despite what we’re led to believe, dental health is not separate from general health.
Life often gets in the way of maintaining your oral health routine, whether it’s due to finances or other factors outside of your control. Regardless of the circumstances, if you neglect your oral health, it could end up costing you way more down the road.
Medi-Cal helps relieve the financial burden of keeping you and your family’s teeth healthy. Being able to get regular checkups at your San Diego dentist at little or no cost can relieve a lot of financial stress.
Routine dental visits are the frontline of defense against the development of more severe dental issues. Catching problems when they’re small saves you the money, time, and struggle of having to deal with the worst-case scenario later.
And if the worst-case does happen, Medi-Cal will soften the blow by providing affordable assistance for whatever treatments you may need.
Put Your Benefits to Work at Dental Express
Maintaining your dental health is one of the most important things you can do for your long-term health and wallet. At Dental Express, we play the long game. When we build your treatment plan, we tailor it to give your unique smile enough shine to last a lifetime.
Dental Express has six locations in the San Diego area dedicated to putting your Medi-Cal dental benefits to work. We’re always happy to help make your dental visits more affordable, and we encourage all of our patients to see if they qualify.
With Medi-Cal, trips to the dentist can be a lot less stressful, and your dental care no longer has to take a backseat.
Feel free to give us a call with any questions about your benefits, and bring your Medi-Cal identification card with you to your next visit to start using them on the spot!