Posted: February 13, 2018
Edited by Dentaltown staff
ATLANTA—National children’s dental provider Kool Smiles announced its dentists have provided more than $128 million in uncompensated dental care to uninsured children and families since 2005. The Kool Smiles uncompensated dental care program has helped more than one million children and adults in 14 states and the District of Columbia access needed dental care in instances where private insurance or Medicaid did not cover the cost of care and families could not afford to pay out of pocket.
“Ensuring that all children, regardless of insurance status, have access to high-quality, affordable dental care is a crucial part of the Kool Smiles mission,” said Dr. Dale Mayfield, chief dental officer for Kool Smiles. “While our doctors are proud to accept a wide variety of insurance plans—including Medicaid, CHIP and Tricare—we also understand that sometimes insurance doesn’t cover needed services and families cannot afford to pay. We believe it is our moral and professional duty to provide uncompensated care in these situations so all patients can get the treatments they need.”
Despite recent gains in insurance coverage, many communities throughout the United States still struggle to access dental care. According to a 2014 survey from the American Dental Association, only about one-third of all dentists accept Medicaid or another form of public insurance. As a result, dental care is one of the greatest unmet health needs among U.S. children, especially in low-income, minority and rural communities. According to a 2017 survey conducted by the Children’s Dental Health Project in partnership with the Benevis Foundation, 13 percent of parents nationwide said their children were in need of dental care but not able to receive it. Without access to preventative care, many patients have no option but to seek dental treatment in an emergency setting. There were more than two million such visits in 2012, which generated more than $1.6 billion in unnecessary costs to the U.S. health care system.
Kool Smiles is dedicated to creating a fun, safe and compassionate environment for children and families seeking high-quality dental care. Nearly 90 percent of the organization's patients are covered by Medicaid and Kool Smiles doctors accept many different types of coverage, including Tricare and Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) coverage. In addition to delivering dental care to communities that have historically lacked access to care, the organization also invests in education and outreach programs in the communities it serves. In 2017, Kool Smiles doctors and staff gave more than $100,000 to their communities through giving and outreach programs, distributed thousands of dental education kits to classrooms across the country, provided 200,000 toothbrushes to disaster victims and other communities in need and supported the next generation of dental leaders with scholarships and educational support.
For more information, visit mykoolsmiles.com.