As payments for dental care increased, children on Medicaid were more likely to see a dentist, Decker said. For example, a $10 increase in Medicaid payments for a check-up, from $20 to $30 between 2000 and 2008, increased the likelihood that a child would see a dentist by 3.92 percent.
More than one-third of children in the United States are covered by public health insurance, primarily Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. Covering dental care for children and adolescents is required by these programs.
However, states can set payment rates for dentists, so these rates vary by state. In addition, dentists are not required to see Medicaid patients.
For more on Medicaid dental care, visit the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
SOURCES: Sandra L. Decker, Ph.D., senior service fellow, division of health care statistics, National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hyattsville, Md.; Judy Schaechter, M.D., associate chair, pediatrics, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; July 13, 2011, Journal of the American Medical Association
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