Oral Health Is No Laughing Matter


Oral Health Is No Laughing Matter 

There is no debating that oral health is linked to physical health. Poor oral health is linked to a host of problems, including heart disease, endocarditis, premature birth and low birth weight. Even mental health can be affected as it did to this mother of three from Wisconsin, who hid her smile and pain from her children for years.
Unfortunately, low-income populations are more adversely affected by oral health problems, due to the lack of coverage and access to care. While Medicaid provides preventive dental services for children, not all states provide oral health benefits for non-disabled adults. Dental programs are often on the budgetary chopping block because they're not required benefits and even when benefits are provided, it’s hard to find a dentist who will accept Medicaid patients. An issue brief by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the uninsured reported that in 2013, only about 1 in 5 adults with income below 200% FPL had a dental visit in the past year, compared to 1 in 2 adults with income above 400% FPL. (fig.3)

Inform, Remind and Persuade 

It is critical to help engage those individuals who do have access to dental coverage. Eliza helps health plans boost member compliance with annual preventive dental visits by intervening with education, reminders, and appointment scheduling services through a variety of channels including automated phone, email, text and live agents.  

Eliza’s unique engagement engine is fueled by over two billion interactions and allows us to determine when and how to best reach and motivate individuals to take action. Sometimes it is as simple sending a text reminder to see their dentist, or educating members that oral health is more than having a nice smile. It could mean helping a member find a dentist or scheduling an appointment. Our conversations uncover barriers to care, providing health plans with valuable insights and members with real-time help to get the care they need. 

Something to Smile About

Eliza’s dental programs have resulted in a 25% improvement in the number of scheduled appointments for one plan, 15% higher than program goals. We improved another plan's preliminary Annual Dental Visit HEDIS rate by 5.5% for those members we reached. In a separate year-end gap closure outreach program, Eliza facilitated over 1,500 preventive dental appointments, an improvement of 13% compared to those who were not reached. 

For more information on Eliza’s preventive care programs, contact us at eliza@hms.com or 1.844.343.1441. 




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