The American Dental Association Health Policy Institute has reported that national spending on dental care has recovered from the pandemic and in 2021 was higher than pre-pandemic levels.
Patients coming back and government funding
The increase is attributed to patients returning to care and federal relief funds that flowed to dental providers.
"Patients were flocking back to the dentist as we started getting back to normal preventive health care routines and providers adapted to new clinical protocols, But just as important, the federal government provided significant funding to the sector in the form of the Provider Relief Fund and the Paycheck Protection Program that clearly provided a financial stimulus," according to Marko Vujicic, ADA Health Policy Institute chief economist and vice president.
As far as Medicaid is concerned, government spending was up $1 billion, according to the article.
Data gathered by HPI from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and other government agencies showed that dental spending increased from $146 billion to $162 billion from 2020 to 2021. In 2019, it was $152 billion.
Funding increase being terminated
However, Congress has now passed legislation to allow states to reevaluate Medicaid eligibility starting in April 2023 as the "pandemic-era rule that prevented states from booting people from the program" comes to an end. The legislation attempts to put guardrails in place to prevent this as the "states will be required to attempt to contact beneficiaries before they remove them from Medicaid."
The 6.2 percent increase in Medicaid funds received by the states for not kicking people out of the program during the COVID-19 health emergency will be phased out gradually by the legislation.