Master of Science (M.S.) in Dentistry
College of Dental Medicine
Publication Date / Copyright Date
Nova Southeastern University. College of Dental Medicine.
Bianca Hillers. 2015. Parental Knowledge & Experience Regarding Their Children's Dental Insurance Following Enactment of the Affordable Care Act. Master's thesis. Nova Southeastern University. Retrieved from NSUWorks, College of Dental Medicine. (14)
Goal and Objectives: The goal of this study is to assess parental knowledge and experience regarding children's dental insurance, following enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA emphasizes the importance of oral health, making pediatric dental services one of ten essential health benefits. With this major change in health care reform, parents should be equipped to make informed decisions regarding their children's dental care and insurance. Data from the first open enrollment period show lack of true mandate and subsequent lack of compliance to this pediatric dental objective. One of our aims was to assess uptake of pediatric dental benefits, type selected and effects on experience related to utilization, scheduling timeliness, and cost satisfaction. This study would allow dental professionals to better assist parents in navigating children's dental insurance and assist policymakers in improving access to care. Methods: The 28-question survey was administered to a national sample of 421 parents, of children ages 18 and younger. The states included were those operating through the Federally-Facilitated Marketplace (37 states). Data was collected by SurveyMonkey® via online survey and analyzed by an NSU statistical consultant. The data identified pediatric dental insurance status, source and type, parental knowledge of the marketplaces and pediatric dental benefits being an essential health benefit, issues in utilization, access to care, changes in providers, cost, satisfaction, and quality of care. Results: The majority of the sample respondents had incomes above the federal poverty level and had a Bachelor's degree or higher level of education. The majority of the sample respondents had pediatric dental benefits. For those who didn't, a major reason was due to plans being too expensive. The majority of the sample respondents selected pediatric dental benefits through their employer and selected a qualified health plan that included dental coverage (embedded plan) or a stand-alone dental plan. Regarding knowledge of the ACA, many didn't know that dental care for children is one of ten essential services covered. In reference to experience, the majority were satisfied with their child's pediatric dental benefits. There was a moderately strong association between having pediatric dental benefits and making a dental appointment (p=0.00, Cramer's V of 35%). Discussion: Results show that a majority of respondents had pediatric dental benefits. For those people who did not, cost still remains a main barrier. Since the majority didn't know that dental care for children is one of ten essential services, it appears that the public needs to be better informed about this major health insurance change. Regardless of whether one had pediatric dental benefits, pediatric dental services were used by the majority. This survey administered through SurveyMonkey ® identified some inherent limitations. The low sample size makes it difficult to generalize the results to the national population. This study, however, can assist in developing larger studies that will investigate the ACA's impact on families as they select a pediatric dental benefit plan.
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