Impact of Chronic Condition Status and Severity on the Time to First Dental Visit for Newly Medicaid-Enrolled Children in Iowa

School of Dentistry, Department of Dental Public Health Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98105, USA.
Health Services Research (Impact Factor: 2.78). 04/2011; 46(2):572-95. DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2010.01172.x
Source: PubMed


To assess the extent to which chronic condition (CC) status and severity affected how soon children had a dental visit after enrolling in Medicaid. Data Source. Enrollment and claims data (2003-2008) for newly Medicaid-enrolled children ages 3-14 in Iowa.
3M Clinical Risk Grouping methods were used to identify CC status (no/yes) and CC severity (less severe/more severe). Survival analysis was used to identify the factors associated with earlier first dental visits after initially enrolling in Medicaid.
Children with a CC were 17 percent more likely to have earlier first dental visits after enrolling in Medicaid (p < .0001). There was no significant difference by CC severity. Children who lived in a dental health professional shortage area and those who did not utilize primary medical care had significantly later first Medicaid dental visits, whereas these factors failed to reach statistical significance for children with a CC.
While newly Medicaid-enrolled children with a CC were significantly more likely to have earlier first dental visits, we failed to detect a relationship between CC severity and the time to first Medicaid dental visit. The determinants of first Medicaid dental visits were heterogeneous across subgroups of newly Medicaid-enrolled children. Future studies should identify the sociobehavioral factors associated with CCs that are potential barriers to earlier first Medicaid dental visits for newly Medicaid-enrolled children.

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    ABSTRACT: Chronic tooth decay is the most common chronic condition in the United States among children ages 5-17 and also affects a large percentage of adults. Oral health conditions are preventable, but less than half of the US population uses dental services annually. We seek to examine the extent to which limited dental coverage and high out-of-pocket costs reduce dental service use by the nonelderly privately insured and uninsured. Using data from the 2001-2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and an American Dental Association survey of dental procedure prices, we jointly estimate the probability of using preventive and both basic and major restorative services through a correlated random effects specification that controls for endogeneity. We found that dental coverage increased the probability of preventive care use by 19% and the use of restorative services 11% to 16%. Both conditional and unconditional on dental coverage, the use of dental services was not sensitive to out-of-pocket costs. We conclude that dental coverage is an important determinant of preventive dental service use, but other nonprice factors related to consumer preferences, especially education, are equal if not stronger determinants. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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