Skip to main content
Toggle Menu of ADA WebSites
ADA Websites
Partnerships and Commissions
Toggle Search Area
Toggle Menu
e-mail Print Share
ADA Health Policy Institute

Dental Benefits and Medicaid

Did my state expand Medicaid eligibility, and what does that mean for my dental practice?

As of January 2017, 32 states including the District of Columbia expanded Medicaid eligibility. Of those states, 23 states including the District of Columbia provide at least limited dental benefits for adults (updated May 2017). Demand for Medicaid dental services among children and adults is likely to increase moving forward, regardless of Medicaid expansion. The growth in demand depends on the level of adult dental benefits covered by each state, and the number of uninsured individuals that qualify for Medicaid moving forward.

Source: The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Status of State Action on the Medicaid Expansion Decision. State Health Facts. As of January 1, 2017. Available from: http://kff.org/health-reform/state-indicator/state-activity-around-expanding-medicaid-under-the-affordable-care-act/.

HPI analysis of state Medicaid websites. 

 

What share of U.S. children and adults have dental benefits?

Dental benefits coverage varies by age. For children ages 2-18, 50.3 percent have private dental benefits, 38.7 percent of dental benefits through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and 11.0 percent do not have dental benefits. For adults ages 19-64, 58.1 percent have private dental benefits, 6.7 percent have dental benefits through Medicaid, and 35.2 percent do not have dental benefits. For adults ages 65 and older, 27.9 percent have private dental benefits, 10.1 percent have dental benefits through a public program, and 62.0 percent do not have dental benefits.

Source: Dental Benefits Coverage Increased for Working-Age Adults in 2014. Health Policy Institute Research Brief. Available as a free download.

 

Does my state cover dental services for adult Medicaid enrollees?

Adult dental benefits are an optional benefit under Medicaid. As of May 2017, 29 states including the District of Columbia provide at least limited dental benefits for adults beyond emergency services. However, in some states, adult dental services are covered through managed care organizations, even though the state Medicaid program does not traditionally provide adult dental benefits.  

Source: HPI analysis of state Medicaid websites.

 

How does dental care utilization among Medicaid enrollees compare to dental care utilization among commercially insured individuals?

In general, dental care utilization is higher among individuals with private dental benefits compared to individuals with Medicaid dental benefits. However, dental utilization among Medicaid-enrolled children has been increasing over the past decade.

Source: Dental Care Utilization Steady Among Working-Age Adults and Children, Up Slightly Among the Elderly. Health Policy Institute Research Brief. Available as a free download.

Related Item: State-level Medicaid-enrolled child dental care utilization rates can be obtained from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Please see http://www.medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-Topics/Benefits/Early-and-Periodic-Screening-Diagnostic-and-Treatment.html.