The federal and state programs aimed at providing health insurance to low-income children are Medicaid and the state Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). AAPD Advocacy supports programs that provide adequate dental benefits, including maintenance of the Medicaid EPSDT (Early, Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment coverage for children) benefit and market-based payment rates in order to maximize patient and provider participation and thereby alleviate oral disease among millions of children. The U.S. Surgeon General reported that 80 percent of all dental disease occurs in only 25 percent of U.S. children. These children are more likely to live in low-income and/or minority families and not only have increased dental disease, but more extensive disease and more treatment for pain. An estimated 4 to 5 million children currently are in acute dental need.


Providing Value in Dental Medicaid: The Dentists’ Perspective. PowerPoint Presentation, Jessica Meeske, DDS, MS, June 2018

MSDA_Annual_MeetingThis presentation giving a pediatric dental perspective on value-based care was given at the Annual Symposium of the Medicaid, Medicare and CHIP State Dental Association Symposium on June 4, 2018, at the Marriot Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. Dr. Meeske presented a well-received discussion on identifying the value that Medicaid brings to her practice, why she sees Medicaid patients, and how dentists will react to a value-based system.

To view her presentation, click here.


ADA Medicaid Provider Reference Guide, 2017

In consultation with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the Medicaid Provider Advisory Committee of the American Dental Association offers the Medicaid Provider Reference Guide as a valuable resource to dental offices. The comprehensive online publication covers such topics as record keeping, documenting medical necessity, cultural competency, and reducing key barriers to Medicaid-eligible individuals seeking dental services.

View Reference Guide Here.


Are Your Kids Covered? Medicaid Coverage for Essential Oral Health Benefits, September 2017

This technical brief presents the findings of a POHRPC research project on state Medicaid coverage of selected dental procedures by Erica Caffrey, DDS, MS, 2016-2017 Samuel D. Harris Fellow. Designed as a state-level advocacy resource, it identifies the pediatric dental procedures most essential for coverage, catalogs the coverage of these procedures by state, and specifies problem areas of coverage for oral health services.

Download Brief


Children’s Access to Dental Care Affected by Reimbursement Rates, Dentist Density, and Dentist Participation in Medicaid, August, 2017

This report, written by Natalia I. Chalmers, DDS, PhD, and Robert D. Compton, DDS, presents new research on the relation between reimbursement rates and access to dental care at the state level, in the context of the number of dentists in the population and the number of dentists participating in Medicaid.

View Report


Pediatric Dentist Toolkit for Seeing Patients with Medicaid: Changing Children’s Lives One Smile at a Time, May 2017

If you are a new pediatric dentist, a pediatric dentist new to Medicaid, or both, you will find this toolkit an invaluable guide to getting a Medicaid program started in your practice. It features no-nonsense answers to common questions about how to appropriately administer Medicaid and offers a host of time-saving resources.

Download Brief


State Medicaid/CHIP Contacts and Resources

This helpful tool features state-by-state information on Medicaid provider resource materials and contact information of Medicaid/CHIP administrators. Simply click on the link – and then click on your state.

View Map


Resources for Dentists Participating in Medicaid and CHIP, May 2017

A helpful list of Medicaid informational resources compiled by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

See Full List Here.


Dentist Participation in Medicaid, American Dental Association, February 2017.

This infographic from the ADA Health Policy Institute reports on the percentage of dentists participating in Medicaid programs by state, age, gender, and specialty.

To view the infographic click here.


AAPD Member O-Ed Included in The Hill

AAPD member Dr. Jessica Meeske authored an op-ed, "How Medicaid Audits Hurt Children In My Home State," published recently in The Hill.

In the op-ed, Dr. Meeske shared her experience with the Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) program and noted that it prevents low-income families and children from receiving dental care through Medicaid in Nebraska. She referenced specific Nebraska RAC audit examples to reinforce her stance. Dr. Meeske balanced her piece by noting provider manuals in Nebraska give dentists discretion to determine frequency of treatment and noted low-income patients, particularly children, are at higher risk and may need care more often than every six months.

To read the full op-ed, please click here.

About The Hill
The Hill is a news source for policymakers and sets the tone for mainstream politics and policy reporters. The Hill receives 9.8 million unique visitors to its online publication each month.


CHIP Increases Children’s Access to Dental Care

More than 8 in 10 children enrolled in CHIP had a preventive dental visit in the past year, according to a July article for the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. Based on an analysis of data from a 2012 survey of parents of CHIP enrollees in 10 states, CHIP-enrolled children were more likely to have a dental home and dental coverage than children enrolled in private insurance. Read the full article.


Medicaid Market for Dental Care Poised for Major Growth in Many States. Health Policy Institute, American Dental Association, December 2014

Due to the Affordable Care Act, the Medicaid market for dental care will grow significantly in many states, even those electing not to expand Medicaid eligibility. This research measures the growth in the Medicaid market by comparing the potential increase in the number of adults and children with Medicaid dental benefits to pre-Medicaid expansion levels in select states. According to the report, the average increase in the potential number of children gaining dental benefits through Medicaid across all 50 states and the District of Columbia is 15.9 percent, ranging from 3.7 percent in D.C. to 40.6 percent in Nevada.

Download the report.


A Ten-Year, State-by-State, Analysis of Medicaid Fee-for-Service Reimbursement Rates for Dental Care Services. Health Policy Institute, American Dental Association, October 2014

This research brief calculates Medicaid fee-for-service reimbursement rates for dental care services relative to typical commercial dental insurance charges and analyzes the changes in pediatric Medicaid FFS reimbursement between 2003 and 2013 in all states and the District of Columbia. In 2013, the average Medicaid FFS reimbursement rate was 49 percent of commercial dental insurance charges for pediatric dental services. From 2003 to 2013, Medicaid FFS reimbursement relative to commercial dental insurance charges fell in 39 states and rose in 7 states and the District of Columbia. The available evidence strongly suggests that increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates for dental care services, in conjunction with other reforms, increases provider participation and access to dental care for Medicaid enrollees.

Download the report.


The Impact of Medicaid Reform on Children’s Dental Care Utilization in Connecticut, Maryland, and Texas. Health Services Research, April 2014

This brief discusses the impact of Medicaid reforms on access to dental care among Medicaid-eligible children, particularly the increases in Medicaid dental fees in Connecticut, Maryland, and Texas. Based on data from the 2007 and 2011–2012 National Survey of Children’s Health, preventive dental care utilization increased among Medicaid-eligible children in Connecticut and Texas compared to Medicaid-ineligible children and all children from a group of control states. In addition, unmet dental need declined among Medicaid-eligible children in Texas. The research suggests that increasing Medicaid dental fees closer to private insurance fee levels has a significant impact on dental care utilization and unmet dental need among Medicaid-eligible children.

Download the report.


Second Opinion: Gorillas in the Dental Operatory, ACA and Medicaid. Dr.Bicuspid.com, March 2013

Dr. Paul Casamassimo provided a Second Opinion that appeared on Dr.Bicuspid.com addressing the ongoing financial and cultural challenges associated with Medicaid as it relates to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). According to Casamassimo, "Often, criticism is exchanged between the dental profession and child advocates about Medicaid reimbursement and dentists' willingness to care for Medicaid-supported children at reimbursements well below their typical fees. However, the reality of the inadequacy of Medicaid reimbursement as it relates to safety-net dental programs caring for the poor brings this inequity into clearer focus. Today, across the U.S., safety-net dental programs are failing or at risk because the cost of providing dental care has increased while Medicaid reimbursement has not."

Read the article.


The Impact of Increased Medicaid Reimbursement in Connecticut. Connecticut Health Foundation, February 2013 

In Connecticut, similar to many other states, children on Medicaid could not easily access dental health services. Few dentists participated in the program with many providers citing low reimbursement rates and cumbersome program administration. Based on a 2008 lawsuit settlement agreement, program administration improved and reimbursement rates increased, moving closer to private insurance rates. A project funded by the Connecticut Health Foundation examined Medicaid data between 2006 and 2011 to determine the effect of the increased Medicaid reimbursement on access to care and provider participation. The findings showed strong increased participation by private providers and a resulting increase in care for children on Medicaid. 

Read the full report.


Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Provide Resources on Medicaid Program Integrity

The AAPD and CMS have partnered in the past to provide members with webinars that provide a comprehensive overview of Medicaid program integrity, common compliance vulnerabilities, and benefits derived from developing or improving a compliance program. The AAPD has also worked closely with CMS and the ADA on compliance issues to help ensure that provider audits are fair and reasonable. CMS has now created an informative website on CMS Medicaid Program Integrity. The site provides educational resources for providers, beneficiaries, managed care plans and other stakeholders and promotes best practices and awareness of Medicaid fraud, waste and abuse. 

Follow this link to learn more about the website.


Additional Resources

October 2014:  CHCS Report on Medicaid Dental MCO Contracting Strategies for Children's Oral Health

October 2014:  GWU Report on Medicaid Dental Trends from CMS-416 Data, 2000-2012

2012: ADA Report on Dental Medicaid

AAPD ACA Basics 

CDC State-Based Programs and Reports 

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Covering Kids and Families

The Program on Medicaid and the Uninsured

Medicaid/SCHIP Dental Program Representatives

Copyright 2010 American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry All Rights Reserved.