Higher US Medicaid payments to dentists associated with increased rate of dental care among children
Children and adolescents from states that had higher Medicaid payment levels to dentists between 2000 and 2008 were more likely to receive dental care, although children covered by Medicaid received dental care less often than children with private insurance, according to a study in the July 13 issue of JAMA. According to background information in the article, more than one-third of children are covered by public health insurance, primarily Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. Coverage of dental care for children and adolescents covered by Medicaid and CHIP is required, although states have wide latitude in setting payment rates for providers including dentists, with these rates varying greatly by state. Medicaid recipients may not be able to access dental care if dentists decline to participate in Medicaid because of low payment levels or other reasons. Little is known about the effect of state dental fees on participation of dentists in the Medicaid program.
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