Majority of children on Medicaid not getting proper dental care: 4 things to know

Over the course of two years, three out of four children covered by Medicaid in four states didn't receive proper dental care, according to a recent Department of Health and Human Services report.

Here are four things to know about the report.

1. HHS analyzed Medicaid dental claims from 2011 and 2012 in California, Indiana, Louisiana and Maryland. The children in these states make up one fifth of all children with Medicaid coverage. In total, Medicaid covers dental care for 37 million children in the United States.

2. The percentage of Medicaid-covered kids who didn't receive all required dental care varied from state to state. In Maryland, 73 percent of kids didn't receive required dental care. In Louisiana, the percentage was 81, while in California and Indiana, 78 percent of children didn't receive necessary care.

3. A number of children covered by Medicaid didn't visit a dentist at all over the course of two years. "We found a significant number of children, 28 percent, who didn't receive any dental services over a two-year period" although they were enrolled in Medicaid, said Meridith Seife, deputy regional inspector general for the Office of Evaluation and Inspections, according to The Associated Press. In addition, the American Dental Association found less than half — 48 percent — of Medicaid-covered kids saw a dentist in 2013, while 64 percent of privately covered kids saw a dentist the same year.

4. In the report, HHS advised states to make action plans and track dental care delivery. CMS agreed with HHS, but added it didn't want to add additional tracking requirements. CMS is currently "working with states to decrease barriers and seek ways to increase the number of providers," according to CMS spokesman Aaron Albright.

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