February 29, 2024

Healthy Kids program ready to revisit dental contracts

As many as three insurers could be chosen to provide the dental care, according to the invitation to negotiate approved by members of the Florida Healthy Kids Board of Directors.

After a year delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a state children’s health insurance program is putting its dental services out for bid.

Members of the Florida Healthy Kids Corp. Board of Directors met Thursday in Orlando and approved publishing an “invitation to negotiate” for dental coverage in the Florida Healthy Kids program.

Staff members didn’t give a precise publication date for the invitation but said the goal is to have negotiations completed and decisions made by the end of this year so coverage can be in effect by July 2022.

As many as three insurers could be chosen to provide the dental care, according to the invitation to negotiate.

The invitation doesn’t include potential amounts of money that could go to companies, but Florida Healthy Kids Corp. documents show that the agency has nearly $35 million budgeted for dental care in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

In the meantime, Florida Healthy Kids Corp. has approved amendments to dental contracts that keep current vendors --- Argus Dental and Vision, MCNA Dental and DentaQuest --- on board until next year.

Florida Healthy Kids provides comprehensive health and dental benefits for children from age 5 through age 18 who live in families that earn too much to qualify for the Medicaid program.

If children live in families that earn between 133 percent and 200 percent of the federal poverty level, they qualify for what is called the Florida Healthy Kids children’s health insurance plan. Children living in families who earn more than 200 percent of the federal poverty level are given access to the Healthy Kids plan, but their premiums are not subsidized with state and federal dollars.

In addition to discussing the dental contracting issue, the board Thursday briefly discussed a new five-year contract with Tallahassee-based Sachs Media. Sachs Media will be paid $900,000 for the first year of the contract and will be paid $500,000 for four out years, according to Florida Healthy Kids Corp. Chief Marketing Officer Ashley Carr.

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