Does SCHIP Spell Better Dental Care Access for Children?

Research Report

Does SCHIP Spell Better Dental Care Access for Children?

An Early Look at New Initiatives

Abstract

The authors found that virtually all of the 18 states studied included dental benefits in their SCHIP programs and that the scope of benefits provided is quite broad, although not as comprehensive as Medicaid. Co-payments on dental services were nominal in most separate SCHIP programs. Several states used SCHIP to test new delivery systems - particularly managed care arrangements - to deliver dental services. Under separate SCHIP programs, some states raised dental payment levels above Medicaid's and simplified administrative and billing procedures. While improvements in access may be occurring under separate SCHIP dental programs, the authors conclude that widespread improvements in oral health for low-income children may be seen only if these improvements are extended to Medicaid.

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