Millions of Americans lack access to routine dental care and resort to visiting hospital emergency departments (EDs) for non-traumatic dental conditions (NTDCs). What drives those costly ED visits and who is most likely to make them? A new visual report from CareQuest Institute explores those questions within the state of Florida.
ED Visits and Lack of Adult Dental Medicaid Benefits
Researchers found that among Floridians ages 25–34, those enrolled in Medicaid or who are uninsured make up more than three-quarters (78.4%) of these ED visits. As of 2020, the end of the data collection period, Florida did not offer an extensive Medicaid adult dental benefit. Other findings in Florida include:
- Adults ages 25-34 have the highest rate of ED use for NTDCs (171.2 visits per 10,000 people), while adults ages 65 and older have the lowest rate (15.5 visits per 10,000 people).
- Across all demographic groups, Black residents of all ages have the highest rate of ED use for NTDCs, with 146.4 visits per 10,000 people. This is more than double the rate for white residents and nearly four times higher than the rate for Hispanic residents.
- In 2019, the total cost of ED visits for NTDCs in Florida was more than $400 million. The average charge for an ED visit for NTDCs was $2,657, compared to $90–$200 for a dental office visit.
The report also explores reasons for ED visits and promising solutions to expand access to care.
You may also be interested in:
- Repeated Use of Emergency Departments for Non-Traumatic Dental Conditions: Factors Associated with Being a “Superutilizer,” a research report that examines who makes repeated visits to the ED for NTDCs and why. The researchers found that superutilizers are more likely to live in states with emergency-only Medicaid adult dental benefits (Florida) compared to states with extensive Medicaid adult dental benefits (New York and Wisconsin).
- Medicaid Adult Dental Coverage Checker, an interactive tool that shows where a given state’s Medicaid adult dental benefits package falls on a continuum from no dental benefits to extensive benefits, helping policymakers and advocates identify areas for improvement.
- A New Oral Health Outlook for 2 Million Americans, a blog post from a policy expert that breaks down which states have expanded their Medicaid adult dental benefits in the 2022 legislative sessions and what that will mean for the health of 2 million Americans.