By far, across the most well-known U.S. discount dental health care plans are those provided by state-funded Medicaid programs. Residents fitting a particular income requirement and their children can be eligible for routine and emergency dental care at a very low cost. This is good news for families who may even have trouble paying the premiums required by most discount dental health care plans in the U.S.
For low-income and minority families, Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) may be the best source of dental care. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease affecting children in the U.S. Sadly, 20 million children in the country do not have dental health plans, according to Kaiser. In addition, many families may not be aware of discount health care or able to afford their low cost rates. What can families in this situation do to receive preventative services and dental treatment?
Some states, such as Montana, cap the amount of dental care provided to children through Medicaid while others trim benefits during times of budgetary crisis. On the whole, however, low-income families can apply at their local Medicaid office for discount dental health plans. Those families should also keep in mind that children enrolled in Medicaid and SCHIP have better access to dental care than uninsured children. (Source: "Dental Coverage and Care for Low-Income Children," The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured)
Some states, such as Illinois, have further improved their offerings of discount dental care through increase of provider payment rates, more efficient billing, and by assigning care managers to families. According to the same study, a Maryland child died from lack of treatment for a tooth abscess. This kind of tragedy is completely unnecessary and its risk can be eliminated for even the most desperate family. Imagine the terrible pain suffered both by this boy and by his family. Help is available in the form of Medicaid and discount dental care plans through local non-profit organizations.