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Health Policy Institute analyzes Medicaid and dental care

January 22, 2015

By Kelly Soderlund

The ADA Health Policy Institute released three new studies on Medicaid that are available on

  • "Are Medicaid and Private Dental Insurance Reimbursement Rates for Pediatric Dental Care Services Keeping Up With Inflation?": HPI analyzed data from every state and found that from 2003 to 2013, Medicaid reimbursement for pediatric dental care services did not keep up with inflation in most states. In contrast, most states have seen increases in inflation-adjusted private dental insurance reimbursement. States that have implemented reimbursement increases along with other Medicaid program reforms have seen significant gains in provider participation and access to dental care.
  • "Medicaid Market for Dental Care Poised for Major Growth in Many States:" This research brief looks at how expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act would affect the market for dental care. HPI researchers found that Medicaid expansion will significantly increase the number of low-income adults with dental benefits. But, the brief says, translating expanded Medicaid dental benefits coverage to expanded access to dental care and, ultimately, improved oral health, will require significant reforms to many Medicaid programs.
  • "The Impact of Medicaid Reform on Children's Dental Care Utilization in Connecticut, Maryland and Texas:" In a paper published in Health Services Research, HPI researchers wrote about how Medicaid reforms in the three states are measured to determine how they have impacted access to dental care among Medicaid-eligible children. Using data from the National Survey of Children's Health, the researchers found that more Medicaid-eligible children in Connecticut in Texas were visiting the dentist. Unmet dental need declined among Medicaid-eligible children in Texas. The findings also showed that increasing Medicaid dental fees to more closely match private insurance level fees significantly impacts dental care utilization and unmet dental need among Medicaid-eligible children.
These new HPI studies and more are available at