The Effect of Public Insurance Coverage and Provider Reimbursement on Access to Dental Care: Evidence from the SCHIP Expansion

The researchers examined the role that public health insurance plays in improving access to dental care for poor and near-poor children. Specifically, they studied low-income children to assess how Medicaid/SCHIP eligibility generosity affects dental care utilization. They investigated how changes in program features and market conditions affected the supply of dental care to the publicly insured, addressed the following research questions: 1) What is the effect of public insurance on the probability a child has an annual dental visit? What is the effect on the total number of visits per year? 2) How does the effect of public insurance on dental utilization vary with key program parameters? 3) How do changes in public dental insurance programs affect provider participation? 4) What was the public dental health insurance environment in the states prior to SCHIP, and how did it change as a result of SCHIP implementation? and 5) How did states change dental provider reimbursement rates with the implementation of SCHIP? The purpose of this project was to better understand the effects of public dental coverage in order to inform related Medicaid and SCHIP policymaking.