This report on dental care in Connecticut’s HUSKY Program shows that for the first time in recent years, utilization of preventive services and treatment has declined among children who were enrolled in the HUSKY Program for the year.
For most children and for adults, preventive care and treatment rates in 2014 were lower than 2013. Utilization of preventive care by children in HUSKY B dropped precipitously in 2014 to a rate well below that for children in HUSKY A. Differences associated with race and ethnicity persist: After years of utilization at the highest rate among children, preventive care utilization fell off for Hispanic children. These trends are troublesome, especially in view of upcoming coverage changes and cuts to provider reimbursement. Precipitous changes to utilization among Hispanic children are also worrisome. The Department of Social Services and its dental services administrator should conduct additional studies of provider network adequacy, appointment availability, provider willingness, and demand for care. In addition, the Department of Social Services, its contractors, and its community-based partners should work toward keeping eligible children and their parents continuously enrolled as a means of increasing access to preventive dental care.