Effects of Enrollment in Medicaid Versus the State Children’s Health Insurance Program on Kindergarten Children’s Untreated Dental Caries

School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
American Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 4.55). 06/2008; 98(5):876-81. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2007.111468
Source: PubMed


We compared levels of untreated dental caries in children enrolled in public insurance programs with those in nonenrolled children to determine the impact of public dental insurance and the type of plan (Medicaid vs State Children's Health Insurance Program [SCHIP]) on untreated dental caries in children.
Dental health outcomes were obtained through a calibrated oral screening of kindergarten children (enrolled in the 2000-2001 school year). We obtained eligibility and claims data for children enrolled in Medicaid and SCHIP who were eligible for dental services during 1999 to 2000. We developed logistic regression models to compare children's likelihood and extent of untreated dental caries according to enrollment.
Children enrolled in Medicaid or SCHIP were 1.7 times (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.65, 1.77) more likely to have untreated dental caries than were nonenrolled children. SCHIP-enrolled children were significantly less likely to have untreated dental caries than were Medicaid-enrolled children (odds ratio [OR]=0.74; 95% CI=0.67, 0.82). According to a 2-part regression model, children enrolled in Medicaid or SCHIP have 17% more untreated dental caries than do nonenrolled children, whereas those in SCHIP had 16% fewer untreated dental caries than did those in Medicaid.
Untreated tooth decay continues to be a significant problem for children with public insurance coverage. Children who participated in a separate SCHIP program had fewer untreated dental caries than did children enrolled in Medicaid.

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    • "Research suggests that some children, despite having dental insurance, are not always receiving dental care because their parents are not able to take their children to dentists or not motivated enough to seek dental care for their children [17,18]. Untreated dental caries rates are high among children enrolled in public insurance, thus having government-assisted dental health insurance alone may not be fully effective in promoting better dental health [19]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Dental caries is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases affecting a large portion of children in the United States. The prevalence of childhood dental caries in Kentucky is among the highest in the nation. The purposes of this study are to (1) compare sociodemographic differences between caries and no caries groups and (2) investigate factors associated with untreated dental caries among children who visited a mobile dental clinic in South Central Kentucky. Methods Study subjects were children aged 6 to 15 years who participated in the school-based dental sealant program through the mobile dental clinic operated by the Institute for Rural Health at Western Kentucky University between September 2006 and May 2011 (n = 2,453). Descriptive statistics were calculated for sociodemographic factors (age, gender, race/ethnicity, insurance status, and urban versus rural residential location) and caries status. We used chi-square tests to compare sociodemographic differences of children stratified by caries and no caries status as well as three levels of caries severity. We developed a logistic regression model to investigate factors associated with untreated dental caries while controlling for sociodemographic characteristics. Results The proportion of children having untreated dental caries was 49.7% and the mean number of untreated dental caries was 2.0. The proportion of untreated dental caries was higher in older children, children with no insurance and living in rural residential locations, and caries severity was also higher in these groups. Odds ratio indicated that older ages, not having private insurance (having only public, government-sponsored insurance or no insurance at all) and rural residential location were associated with having untreated dental caries after controlling for sociodemographic characteristics of children. Conclusions Untreated dental caries was more likely to be present in older children living in rural areas without insurance. Health interventionists may use this information and target rural children without having proper insurance in order to reduce geographic disparities in untreated dental caries in South Central Kentucky.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · BMC Oral Health

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