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Helping Children Get Access to Dental Care - Key Findings and Recommendations


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In 2010, Connecticut rated an "A" for improving children's dental health over a 10-year period.

But 10 years previous, it was reported that 71% of Connecticut children enrolled in HUSKY A (Healthcare for UninSured Kids and Youth), the state’s Medicaid program for low-income families, received no dental visit.*

What changed during those ten years?

Published in: Health & Medicine
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Helping Children Get Access to Dental Care - Key Findings and Recommendations

  1. 1. The Impact of Increased Dental Reimbursement Rates on Children Enrolled in Medicaid Helping Children Get Access to Dental Care - Key Findings and Recommendations
  2. 2. The Consequences of Not Going to the DentistWell-established research illustratesthe consequences of inadequateaccess to basic dental care forchildren:• More oral disease,• More dental pain and infection,• More days lost from school.
  3. 3. Connecticut’s Pediatric Dental HealthIn 2001, it was reported that 71% ofConnecticut children enrolled inHUSKY A (Healthcare for UninSuredKids and Youth), the state’s Medicaidprogram for low-income families,received no dental visit.*But in 2010, Connecticut rated an “A”for improving children’s dental healthover a 10-year period.**What changed? * **
  4. 4. Inadequate Access to Basic Dental CareHistorically, children enrolled inHUSKY A have had difficultyaccessing dental care due, in largepart, to:• Low Medicaid reimbursement rates that discouraged private providers from program participation• Cumbersome Medicaid administration
  5. 5. The Impact of ChangesBased on a 2008 lawsuit settlementagreement, program administrationimproved and reimbursement ratesincreased, moving closer to privateinsurance rates. Image or ChartWhat was the impact of thesechanges on utilization rates andprivate dentist participation?
  6. 6. Making Progress• Twice as many low-income children received dental treatment in 2011 compared with 2006.• Private provider participation more than doubled between 2006 and 2010. Image or Chart• An increase in services utilized was seen in nearly all 169 towns, but especially in the 10 cities with the highest populations of children enrolled in HUSKY A.
  7. 7. Cities with the Greatest NeedThe ten cities with the highest concentration of HUSKY A children have the greatestneed for dental services. In 2011, the utilization rates for continuously enrolledchildren averaged 70 percent across these cities, a rate higher than that of privatelyinsured children. Those cities are: • Hartford • New Haven • New Britain • Meriden • East Hartford • Waterbury • New London • Windham • Bridgeport • Norwich
  8. 8. Participation from DentistsThe strong response of privatedentists is most likely the result ofincreased Medicaid reimbursementrates.The positive collaboration between Image or Chartadvocates, the Department of SocialServices, and the Connecticut StateDental Association, and thecontributions of Medicaid programadministrative improvements, havealso added to the increase in privatedentist participation.
  9. 9. Recommendations to Maintain this ParticipationTo ensure that low-income children continue tohave access to oral health services, action isrequired:• HUSKY A reimbursement rates must be increased periodically to offset the increasing cost of providing dental services. Image or Chart• HUSKY A dental program administration and management must continue to be streamlined to encourage private dentist participation.
  10. 10. Learn MoreRead our brief, Impact of Increased Dental Reimbursement Rates on HUSKY A-Insured Children: 2006 – 2011.