October 4, 2023

On October 2, the District Court for the Southern District of New York granted final approval to the settlement of Ciaramella et. al. v. Bassett, a federal class action lawsuit filed against the New York State Department of Health (DOH) in 2018 on behalf of Medicaid recipients in New York who were denied coverage for medically necessary dental care by New York State.  

Starting November 2, 2023, dental coverage for Medicaid-eligible New Yorkers will be expanded pursuant to the terms of the settlement. Along with Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, the case was led by pro bono partner The Legal Aid Society and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. 

The historic settlement, which was announced on May 1, 2023, is expected to impact approximately five million New Yorkers with Medicaid coverage statewide. It secured landmark changes to law mandating expanded dental coverage to New Yorkers who use Medicaid, including both new dental coverage benefits and a significant broadening of existing benefits. 

The case was first brought in August 2018 by Frank Ciaramella and Richard Palazzolo on behalf of tens of thousands of Medicaid-eligible New Yorkers whose expenses associated with medically necessary dental services were not covered by New York’s Medicaid Program because of the Program’s ban on dental implants and strict limits on replacement dentures. The suit argued that the rigid rules in the New York State Medicaid Program restricted coverage for services that are necessary for Medicaid recipients to maintain their overall health.

Read more about the settlement here and in The New York Times here.

The Willkie team was led by partner Wesley Powell and included associates Annie Houghton-Larsen, Timothy Ryan and Sean Lavin.

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