Study explores barriers to dental care for Medicaid-enrolled reproductive-aged women
In a recent study, only 47% of women had an appointment with a dentist during pregnancy. Medicaid-enrolled women in Virginia were less likely to visit the dentist during pregnancy as women with private insurance despite having Medicaid Pregnancy Dental coverage, according to the study that was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Women’s Health.
Shillpa Naavaal, MPH, School of Dentistry, Virginia Commonwealth University, and colleagues, coauthored the study, which examined the differences in oral health related to pregnancy awareness and barriers to dental care among reproductive-aged women by health insurance type. The study also examined the level of awareness of the Medicaid Pregnancy Dental coverage among women who are enrolled in Medicaid. The investigators found that one out of three reproductive-aged women who were enrolled in Medicaid were not aware of the prenatal dental coverage in Virginia.
“Medicaid-enrolled and uninsured women face difficulties in accessing dental health during pregnancy at a more frequent rate than women who have private insurance,” said the investigators. “This study’s findings are timely and valuable as Virginia plans to extend comprehensive dental coverage for all Medicaid-enrolled adults from July 2021.”
The authors found that nearly 40% of Medicaid-enrolled women didn’t know that pregnancy is a period of higher risk for oral health problems. It is crucial to increase awareness of Medicaid Pregnancy Dental coverage and reduce the barriers to accessing dental care for reproductive-aged women.”
Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Journal of Women’s HealthEditor-in-Chief and Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women’s Health, Richmond, VA
and. and. (2021). Oral Health Knowledge, Barriers and Awareness of Medicaid Pregnancy Dentist Coverage in Reproductive-Age Women. Journal of Women’s Health. doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2021.0252.
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