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Illinois Dentists Hesitate to Treat Children on Medicaid

An undercover research conducted in Illinois has revealed startling discrimination against kids who have public insurance like Medicaid. The researchers discovered that even Medicaid-enrolled dentists were hesitant to treat children with Medicaid.

Only 68% of kids with Medicaid could get appointments with Medicaid-enrolled dental surgeons. Things were far worse with non-enrolled dental surgeons. They offered appointments to just seven percent of children having public insurance. Readers should know that Medicaid fully reimburses the expenses of emergency dental treatment.

This research was published in the online edition of Pediatrics journal. Health experts blame the discrimination on how Medicaid reimburses dentists. Illinois dentists receive only 53% of their usual fees from Medicaid. During the undercover survey, many dentists said they were willing to accept cash from the kids’ mothers.

Health experts say patients having public insurance who are refused dental treatment can seek help from their primary-care physician or local dental schools which offer emergency oral care.

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