As we continue to reflect on the 2023 legislative session, Kentucky Youth Advocates is recapping an item of particular interest for families across the Commonwealth  – the adult Medicaid expansion and Senate Bill 65.

How did we get here?

In October 2022, Governor Beshear announced an expansion of the dental, vision, and hearing benefits available for adults on Medicaid. This change included several new dental services covered for adults. The additions were largely restorative procedures such as root canals, crowns, dentures, and implants, offering an alternative to tooth extraction when medically appropriate – services that support an individual’s ability to get and keep a job.

This expansion was enacted through an administrative regulation that went into effect on January 1, 2023. Many Kentuckians began utilizing their new benefits immediately, with thousands of expanded services provided in the first 6 weeks of the year. In addition to the new services added for adults, Medicaid dental providers saw an increase in their reimbursement rates on the 2023 fee schedule.

What happened during the legislative session?

As part of the process to approve administrative regulations, the Administrative Regulations Review Committee reviewed this change and ultimately found the regulation to be deficient. Deficient regulations can stay in place if no action is taken, however legislation can be passed to nullify any deficient regulations. After the deficiency finding, this regulation was included in SB 65, which aimed to remove all deficient regulations from the prior year.

During the remaining days of the legislative session, SB 65 made its way through both the Senate and House, but, due to disagreement on the language, was assigned to a special committee with House and Senate members to reconcile before final passage.

The final bill language included:

  • Clarification that rate increases could be maintained for services that remain, should the Cabinet for Health and Family Services choose to keep them in place.
  • Ensuring that those who had initiated treatment prior to the passage could complete that care.
  • Elimination of critical dental services for adults that support our most vulnerable Kentucky families, but were only in place for a short 3 months.

Despite efforts that advocates from across the state made to highlight the negative impacts this bill would have on Kentucky families, SB 65 passed on March 29th when a veto from Governor Beshear was overridden by the legislature and went into effect immediately.

What’s next?

The 2023 legislative session has concluded, but CHFS has filed new regulations to expand dental services.

  • You can submit public comments in support of these regulations through May 31st.
  • There is a public hearing on May 22nd at 9:00 AM ET via Zoom.
  • You can request to speak (by May 15th) at the virtual hearing or submit a written comment to the contact person: Krista Quarles, Policy Analyst, Office of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, 275 East Main Street 5 W-A, Frankfort, Kentucky 40621, or via email:

We are hopeful that the administration and legislature will work together to increase access to critical dental care for our most vulnerable Kentuckians and their families by reinstating the adult Medicaid expanded benefits.

Have questions about coverage? Visit to contact the Department for Medicaid Services or contact your MCO directly.

Photo by Max Harlynking on Unsplash