Study Finds Medicaid Expansion Beneficiaries Improve Life Propects After Receiving Dental Care

A study published this week in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry concluded that low-income individuals who received dental care under Medicaid expansion in Michigan had improved job outcomes as a result of better oral health.

The paper entitled “Beneficiaries’ perspectives on improved oral health and its mediators after Medicaid expansion in Michigan: a mixed methods study” was penned by a number of authors.  Its objective was to investigate “self‐reported improved oral health and its mediators, and job‐related outcomes, of Medicaid expansion beneficiaries in Michigan” under the “Healthy Michigan Plan.” It is part of an academic effort to evaluate whether Medicaid expansion that began in April 2014 in Michigan has led to improved access to healthcare or better health for low-income individuals in the state.

The study interviewed 67 individuals, surveyed some 4,090 others, and reviewed Medicaid claims data.

Among the surveyed individuals, 60% had more than one dental visit and 40% reported improved oral health as a result of their visit or visits.  Those stating that their oral health had improved were found more likely to report improved job-seeking behavior and improved job performance.

The one-on-one interviews shed light on the “previously unmet oral health needs, and treatments that improved oral health, functioning, appearance, confidence, and employability.”


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