OAP Dental Funds for Seniors Reinstated

March 10, 2010

Today, the governor signed into law a number of bills that adjust the funding for government agencies for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. Among the provisions of HB 1311, one of the bills signed today, is a measure that restores funding for two dental programs that serve the elderly: the state dental program for seniors and the Dental HouseCalls program that aids low income seniors who are too frail or ill to travel to a dental office. Since Colorado does not have an adult Medicaid benefit, these programs are the only option available to low-income seniors.

In budget cuts last fall, the Old Age Pension (OAP) funds that underwrite these senior dental programs had been eliminated, likely due to a lack of understanding about what the programs offer. Thus, over the last several months, we worked to educate the Governors office and legislators about the programs and their benefits. In a desperate fiscal climate, a positive outcome was unlikely. However, the Joint Budget Committee recommended to restore funding for the program for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. This recommendation was codified in the bill signed today. Prospects are promising that the funding will also be maintained in 2010-2011.