An Estimated 12 Million Children and Adults Lost Medicaid Dental Insurance after the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Expired

Published 04/01/2024

New data analyses by CareQuest Institute reveal that approximately 12 million adults and children nationwide lost their dental coverage between April and September of 2023 due to Medicaid redeterminations. These analyses also estimate that nearly 2 million more individuals would be disenrolled from Medicaid dental by the end of 2023.  

The public health emergency (PHE) declared during the COVID-19 pandemic included measures to prevent people from losing health insurance. However, in April of 2023, those protections ended. As a result, millions of people have been disenrolled from Medicaid, losing their medical and dental coverage. While some people have been able to find alternative sources of medical coverage, very few people have been able to reenroll in dental coverage.

Key findings include:

  • About 12 million people (5.9 million adults, 6.1 million children) were disenrolled from Medicaid coverage that included dental benefits between April and September of 2023.  
  • Of those 12 million people, about 10 million had not enrolled in an alternative source of dental coverage as of September 2023.
  • By the end of 2023, about 14 million people are expected to have lost Medicaid coverage with dental benefits.

When the entire redetermination process is done, dental coverage losses may end up exceeding medical coverage losses, which could significantly reverse recent progress in improving access to dental care.

The authors write, “The growth of Medicaid enrollment during the PHE continuous eligibility and the precipitous rise of uninsured individuals following its expiration highlight the importance of strengthening Medicaid to cover individuals who would otherwise be uninsured.”

Impact by State

Each state approached redetermination differently, creating clear differences in total Medicaid enrollment by state. In addition to national estimates, the report analyzes disenrollment rates by state.

View an interactive map with disenrollment rates by state

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