Note:  Iowa HHS canceled and rescinded RFP MED-24-004 effective April 1, 2024.

Des Moines, IA - As part of the transformational efforts within the Medicaid program, the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announces plans today to request proposals for delivery of dental care services for Iowans. This move closely aligns with Iowa Medicaid’s commitment to ensure all members have equitable access to high quality services in all areas of healthcare, including dental care. This process will build stability for Iowa Medicaid members and providers. It will also increase the state’s ability to determine the appropriate number of dental plans and requires the dental plans to provide both Iowa Dental Wellness Plan and Hawki coverage.

HHS intends to procure contracts with the most qualified pre-paid ambulatory health plans (PAHP) that demonstrate capacity to coordinate care and provide quality outcomes for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) populations, as required by federal authorities. The final number of awarded contracts under this competitive procurement will be determined by HHS.

“Members of Iowa Dental Wellness Plan and Hawki programs face challenges when it comes to dental coverage, including limited choices and providers. The first dental contract we hold today was effective in 2005 for the Hawki program only. Nearly two decades later, we have learned how to effectively shape the Managed Care program and want to bring the dental programs in line with best practices and lessons learned and ensure that we are excellent stewards of Iowa’s taxpayer dollars,” said Iowa Medicaid Director Liz Matney.

Although dental care has been provided through a managed care model for several years, the dental managed care contracts have not been competitively procured or had the same comprehensive review as we have done with our other managed care contracts. This effort drives the innovation that is needed to provide high quality services to Iowans.

Potential bidders are encouraged to acquaint themselves with the Iowa Dental Wellness Plan and the Hawki program, the populations served, as well as the program goals. Although comments and questions are encouraged, please be advised that HHS will only respond to questions submitted via the RFP Q&A process that occurs after the RFP release date. The RFP for Iowa Dental Wellness Plan and Hawki Dental PAHP, RFP MED-24-004, that HHS anticipates releasing around April 24, will be posted to the state’s procurement website at

Below is a tentative timeline for the RFP; these dates are estimates and are subject to change:

  • Spring 2023: Question and answer period after release of the RFP
  • Summer 2023: Deadline for bid proposals
  • Fall 2023: HHS to award contract(s)
  • Fall 2023: PAHP onboarding to begin
  • Spring 2024: PAHP readiness review
  • Summer 2024: PAHP operations to begin

This effort coincides with other significant system improvements within Iowa Medicaid including the announcement last year that effective July, 2023, a third MCO will begin offering health care to Iowans enrolled in Medicaid. Molina Health Care will be a tremendous asset to the state, as they have demonstrated success in serving the Long-Term Services and Supports population. HHS also recently announced a report outlining the assessment of the Home and Community Based Services which focused on waiver redesign and strengthening access to mental health services.


Media Contact:
Alex Carfrae