More Children Visit Dentists When Medicaid Rates Increase



A new study indicates that as Medicaid rates rise, more children have the opportunity to see a dentist on a regular basis.

The bad news is that budget cuts in certain states could put some children’s Medicaid coverage in peril. The current economy doesn’t help this situation. At times in the past when budgets were in trouble, Medicaid was one of the programs that saw its funding get cut.

The other continuous problem with Medicaid is that there are times when people with Medicaid have difficulty scheduling an appointment. The reason is dentists don’t want to have worry about all of the aggravation that comes with getting paid by Medicaid. The other concern for dentists is that the parents of these children skip out on bringing them to the appointment.

There are about 40 percent of children in the United States that are covered by public insurance.

To compile the data, Sandra Decker from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed standard Medicaid payments from 42 states and the District of Columbia in 2000 through 2001 and compared the payments to the numbers from 2008 to 2009. Changes in the reimbursement payments were then linked with the number of children on Medicaid that saw a dentist for a routine teeth cleaning.

The research demonstrated that 55 percent of the children on Medicaid saw a dentist from 2008 to 2009, while 68 percent of children covered by private insurance saw a dentist. There were 27 percent of children that didn’t have insurance.

The reimbursement rates were less than $20 for visits in New Jersey and Florida, while they were more than $45 in Alaska and Kentucky. The numbers come from the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Medicaid rates had risen in slightly fewer than half of the states while the coverage dropped in a little more than half of the states.

This information shows that there are many factors of Medicaid that determine what kind of care children receive.