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Changes in public health insurance improve access to dental care for children
Updated: 7/15/2011 8:59:59 AM

Increased dentist reimbursement rates may improve access to dental care for children Some research has shown that an individual's dental health may affect their overall well-being. For this reason, health experts have urged an increase in the accessibility of oral care for children who do not have dental insurance.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicated that changes in the reimbursement rates provided by public health insurance like Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are associated with improvements in rates of oral care among children.

"Children were about 6 percentage points more likely to have seen a dentist in 2008-2009 than in 2000-2001," the study's authors wrote.

The researchers attributed this increase in oral care to the higher dentist reimbursement rates that were paid in 2008, compared to 2000.

The study's results showed that children with Medicaid or CHIP were less likely than those with private insurance to have visited a dentist within the past six months, but they were more likely to do so than those with no dental care coverage.

According to the National Center for Biotechonology Information, more than 22 percent of U.S. children lacked dental coverage in 2007.

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