Indexed on: 20 Dec '18Published on: 20 Dec '18Published in: Health Services Research
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. Children aged 1-18 years included in the nationally representative 2010-2015 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). 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. NHIS is an annual household survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. 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. 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. © Health Research and Educational Trust.