The ACA and Medicaid Expansion or Lack Thereof: How is Access to Oral Health Care Affected?

ACA/Medicaid White Paper cover
White Paper

This white paper provides an analysis of Medicaid expansion, or lack thereof, and its effect on the delivery of dental care under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Key Points:

  • In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Medicaid expansion was not mandatory; therefore, each state is allowed to choose whether or not to expand Medicaid.
  • As of this writing, 31 states, including the District of Columbia, have expanded Medicaid, another 19 are not expanding, and one state is exploring expansion pending a federal waiver approval.
  • Under the ACA, most health care plans are required to offer pediatric dental benefits to children up to age 19, which is estimated to expand dental coverage to 8.7 million children by 2018.
  • The ACA did not mandate adult dental benefits; however, if all states expanded Medicaid, an estimated 2.7 million more low-income adults would become eligible for dental benefits.
  • Even with the passage of the ACA and Medicaid expansion, there are still an estimated 108 million Americans without access to dental care in the United States.