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Freshfields Helps Obtain Historic Settlement Enabling Medically Necessary Dental Care for Medicaid Recipients

A Freshfields team, in partnership with The Legal Aid Society and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, has secured a historic settlement in Ciaramella v. Zucker, a federal class action lawsuit brought against the New York State Department of Health on behalf of Medicaid recipients in New York who were denied coverage for medically necessary dental care by New York State. The settlement was announced on May 1, 2023.

This settlement calls for transformative changes to New York’s existing Medicaid benefit program, expanding coverage and removing time bars to provide dental procedures and devices such as root canals, implants, crowns and replacement dentures. The previous rules denied coverage for most patients who had eight points of contact, or four matched upper and lower pairs of back teeth, and did not allow any dental implants or provide replacement dentures before eight years had elapsed.

This settlement is expected to impact more than five million individuals statewide. The New York Times reported on the matter here.

The Freshfields team was led by partner Mary Eaton who commented that “inadequate dental care negatively impacts physical health and also results in profound social and psychological effects including unemployability and social isolation. We are pleased that the New York Medicaid program’s unlawful and archaic barriers to medically necessary dental care are finally coming to an end, and that low-income New Yorkers can now get the care so many take for granted.”

The Freshfields team also included Maria Slobodchikova, Tim Chen, Noah Lipkowitz and Alessandra Scalise.


About Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is a global law firm with a long-standing track record of successfully supporting the world's leading national and multinational corporations, financial institutions and governments on groundbreaking and business-critical mandates. Our 2,800-plus lawyers deliver results worldwide through our own offices and alongside leading local firms. Our commitment, local and multinational expertise, and business know-how means our clients rely on us when it matters most.

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This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.