Health Policy


Iowa Dental Wellness Plan Evaluation

Floss, Toothpaste, and Toothbrush

Description: The Iowa Health and Wellness Plan (IHAWP) expands health care benefits to single adults with incomes below 133% of the federal poverty level and not otherwise eligible for Medicaid. Dental benefits for IHAWP members are provided through the Dental Wellness Plan (DWP), which was implemented on May 1, 2014. DWP is a fee-for-service plan, with IME making capitated payments to Delta Dental of Iowa for administration of the plan.

DWP includes a unique earned benefits structure to encourage healthy behaviors, including routine preventive dental care. All DWP members are eligible for Core benefits upon enrollment, which include emergency and stabilization services. If they return for a periodic dental recall exam within 6 to 12 months of the initial exam, members become eligible for Enhanced benefits (e.g., routine dental restorations-fillings). Enhanced Plus benefits are available after receiving a second recall exam within 6 to 12 months of the first recall (e.g., crowns or partials).

The PPC will evaluate cost, utilization, and performance measures in DWP; comparisons will be made with dental benefits provided by the traditional Medicaid State Plan and Delta Dental of Iowa commercial dental plans where appropriate. Major components of this evaluation include:

  • Member perceptions of care and satisfaction with DWP and Medicaid evaluated using mailed and online surveys.
  • Dentist perceptions of DWP, Medicaid and these patient populations, evaluated using mailed and online surveys.
  • Dental safety net capacity, assessed using online surveys of community health centers in Iowa.
  • Provider network evaluations, examining geographical variation in dentist availability for DWP and Medicaid members.
  • Outcomes of care, including in-office and emergency department utilization of dental services, analyzed using enrollment and claims data for members of DWP, Medicaid, and Delta Dental of Iowa commercial plans.

All results of this evaluation will be posted on this website as they are completed and ready for release.