May 2019 Volume LIV Number 3


The Impact of Increased Medicaid Dental Reimbursement in Connecticut

September 2013 Volume XLIX Number 5

Over the past few decades, Connecticut children enrolled in the state's Medicaid program could not easily access dental health services for a variety of reasons including low private dentist participation. Many providers cited low reimbursement rates and cumbersome program administration as obstacles to treating children insured under Medicaid. Based on a 2008 lawsuit settlement agreement, program administration improved and reimbursement rates increased, moving closer to private insurance rates. Dr. Tryfon Beazoglou and Dr. Joanna Douglass performed an examination of Medicaid data between 2006 and 2011 to determine the effects of the increase on fees on utilization rates, private dentist participation, and the relative contributions of private practices and dental safety net providers.
Utilization rates of children continuously enrolled in HuSKy A increased from 46 percent in 2006 to nearly 70 percent in 2011 while private dentist participation in the Medicaid program more than doubled between 2006 and 2010. Nearly 50 percent of all active general and pediatric practitioners now participate in the Medicaid program.
Three other states (Indiana, Michigan, and Tennessee) have raised Medicaid reimbursement rates to a similar level. All reported a significant increase in utilization rates. However, the increase in dentist participation and patient utilization in Connecticut exceeds that of these states, suggesting that program administration changes and strong state dental association recruitment efforts may have contributed to Connecticut's better results.