To improve health, boost Medicaid dental reimbursement rates

By Romesh Nalliah: For More Info, Go Here…

ngd- The single greatest failure of the Medicaid approach to healthcare…

We know that preventive dental care services are highly valued and sought after by consumers. Nevertheless, every year about 440,000 Americans covered by Medicaid end up in the Emergency Room with a dental complaint, costing Medicaid over $310 million annually. The average ER charge for a dental emergency is $760, the average charge for a dental examination, routine x-rays and cleaning is a little less than $235.

While research shows that there are far fewer medically-related hospital admissions for those who regularly receive preventive dental care, and that individuals having insurance are much more likely to seek preventive care and have better clinical outcomes, too few dentists participate in Medicaid to resolve this imbalance. So, despite overwhelming evidence that preventive dental care costs less and keeps patients healthier, the overreliance on costly, taxpayer-funded emergency room dental care continues nationally, and in Michigan.

Private dental insurances reimburse about 79 percent of the standard fee charged by dentists. But the Michigan Medicaid reimbursement rate is only 20.3 percent of commercial dental insurance charges. The outdated reimbursement rate, combined with the overhead costs of running a dental office (about 58 percent to 78 percent of revenues), puts many dentists in a position where it costs them money to treat Medicaid patients, with the gap between costs and revenue growing as more Medicaid patients are treated.

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