Cover: Association Between Insurance Type and Fluoride Varnish Application During Well-Child Visits in Massachusetts

Association Between Insurance Type and Fluoride Varnish Application During Well-Child Visits in Massachusetts

Published in: Academic Pediatrics (Journal Pre-Proof, 2023)

Posted on rand.org Jun 22, 2023

by Annie Chen, Kimberley Geissler, Andrew W. Dick, Sarah L. Goff, Ashley M. Kranz

Objective

To compare rates of fluoride varnish (FV) applications during well-child visits for children covered by Medicaid and private medical insurance in Massachusetts.

Methods

This cross-sectional study analyzed well-child visits for children aged 1 to 5 years paid by Medicaid and private insurance during 2016-18 in Massachusetts. Multivariate regression models, with all covariates interacting with insurance type, were used to calculate odds ratios and adjusted predicted probabilities of fluoride varnish during well-child visits by calendar year and age.

Results

Across 957,551 well-child visits, 40.0% were paid by private insurers. Unadjusted rates of fluoride varnish were significantly lower among well-child visits paid by private insurers (6.6%) than visits paid by Medicaid (14.2%). In the fully interacted regression model, the odds of a visit including fluoride varnish were significantly lower for older children than for children aged 1 for visits paid by both insurance types. Adjusted rates of fluoride varnish increased significantly from 2016 to 2018 for both insurance types. Moreover, rates were higher among visits for children covered under Medicaid than privately insured children in all years, and the differences by insurance type declined over time (2016: 8.0% points, 95% confidence interval = -8.7 to -7.3, 2018: 5.3% points, 95% confidence interval = -6.6 to -3.9).

Conclusions

Rates of fluoride varnish applications during well-child visits were low for both Medicaid and private insurance despite growth from 2016 to 2018 in Massachusetts. Low rates are concerning because this is a recommended service with the potential to help address racial, geographic, and income-based disparities in access and oral health outcomes.

Research conducted by

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