Changes in Pediatric Dental Coverage and Visits Following the Implementation of the Affordable Care Act

Published in: Health Services Research, Volume 54, Issue 2, pages 437–445 (April 2019). doi: 10.1111/1475-6773.13093

Posted on RAND.org on February 02, 2021

by Ashley M. Kranz, Andrew W. Dick

Read More

Access further information on this document at Health Services Research

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Objective

To determine the impact of the inclusion of pediatric dental care in the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) core package of essential health benefits on dental coverage and utilization.

Data Sources

Children aged 1–18 years included in the nationally representative 2010–2015 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).

Study Design

We used regression-adjusted difference-in-differences to examine changes in rates of dental coverage and visits pre- and post-ACA for children likely to be affected by the ACA (have a parent working for a small employer) to a comparison group of children who were unlikely to be affected (have a parent in a firm with ≥50 employees). Models adjusted for relevant health and sociodemographic measures.

Data Collection

NHIS is an annual household survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Principal Findings

Comparing pre- and post-ACA periods, private dental insurance increased by 4.6 percentage points more (P = 0.013) and annual dental visits were unchanged (2.7 percentage points, P = 0.071) among children likely to be affected by the ACA compared to children unlikely to be affected by the ACA.

Conclusion

Inclusion of pediatric dental care as an ACA essential health benefit increased dental insurance coverage, but not dental visits among children likely to be affected by this policy.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.