Have a Heart for Kids Day rally, 2015

Dental Coverage for Pacific Islanders in Washington

PDF version: English or Marshallese

On Jan. 1, 2019, thanks to the state legislature, approximately 1,000 Washington residents from three Pacific Island nations gained access to medical care through the COFA Islander Health Care Program.

Created with the passage of Senate Bill 5683 in 2018, the program offers premium assistance and help with out-of-pocket costs to low-income residents across the state who have been excluded from Medicaid because of immigration status.

Yet COFA Health Care is not as comprehensive as Medicaid because it does not include dental coverage.

Oral health is a vital component of overall health. Kids and families need timely, preventive care to ensure that ordinary experiences with cavities don’t become serious, chronic, painful conditions that interfere with work and school. 

In order to offer a full scope of health care coverage and achieve parity with Medicaid, lawmakers should pass Senate Bill 5274 / House Bill 1218, adding dental coverage to the COFA Islander Health Care Program.

Support SB 5274 / HB 1218 to include dental coverage in the COFA (Compact of Free Association) Islander Health Care program.