Children’s Dental Services in the HUSKY Program: Program Improvements Led to Increased Utilization in 2009 and 2010

Back • Publication Date: December 22nd, 2011

Authors: Mary Alice Lee, Ph.D.

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In 2008, Connecticut made significant changes in the HUSKY Program that were designed to improve access to dental care for children. The results of this research report show that in 2009 and 2010, the number and percentage of children who receive dental services increased over previous years when the HUSKY Program was delivered through a program of risk-based managed care.

  • About 60 percent of children in HUSKY A (Medicaid) had preventive dental care and about 33 percent had treatment, significantly more than in previous years.
  • Nearly 70 percent of children in HUSKY B (CHIP) had preventive dental care, significantly more than in HUSKY A; however, dental treatment occurred at roughly the same rates for children in HUSKY A and HUSKY B.
  • In HUSKY A, about four in ten children with any dental care had two or more preventive visits, as recommended by pediatric and dental care professionals; the rate was even higher for children in HUSKY B.
  • Among children under age 3 in HUSKY A, the percentage who were seen for preventive care increased, as did the percentage of children under 3 who received treatment.
  • As in previous years, Hispanic children were most likely and Black children were least likely to have received preventive care.

Based on these findings, we recommend maintaining provider fee increases and oversight provisions established by the Carr legal settlement beyond the expiration date of August 2012. We recommend continuing to monitor differences in access and utilization associated with race/ethnicity and investigating ways to reduce disparities.