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Differences in types of dental insurance may lead to oral care disparities among racial groups
Updated: 6/17/2011 8:59:58 PM

Individuals on Medicaid may not receive the same level of dental care as those with private insurance Some people think that just because they have dental insurance their plans will cover expenses for all necessary oral treatments. However, a recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health identified several reasons why some individuals with dental coverage receive inadequate care.

The researchers surveyed more than 100 African-American men and women, of whom 50 percent had dental insurance through Medicaid and 21 percent were covered under private insurance.

The study's results showed that many respondents who were on Medicaid had trouble finding providers who accepted their form of insurance and often avoided preventive treatments that were not covered under their plan.

"Although Medicaid allowed some participants to obtain basic care such as dental cleanings, the barriers identified suggest that enhancements to the program would significantly improve many patients' ability to obtain treatment," said lead researcher Eric Schrimshaw.

One respondents explained that he only sought dental treatment in cases of emergencies because he could not afford the out-of-pocket costs for preventive oral care.

Investigators said their findings indicate that the type of insurance individuals have, may determine their level of care.

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