Income and Oral Health: The Relationship Among Medicaid Recipients
Medicaid provides health insurance coverage for 97 million low-income Americans over the course of a year. Each state operates its own Medicaid program within broad federal guidelines leading to significant variability between state programs. Much of this variability can be attributed to the “optional” inclusion of adult dental benefits. This study exploits differences in Medicaid programs by examining the relationship between oral health utilization and income among low-income adults in the United States. Good oral health can help prevent oral diseases and improve quality of life. Furthermore, maintaining a pain-free mouth will support good nutritional, sleep, and work habits. Using data from the 2017 Medical Expenditure Panel Data survey (MEPS), a regression analysis tests the relationship between having at least one dental visit in the last year and income, controlling for environmental and demographic characteristics. Results show that receiving oral health services is correlated to thirteen percent higher income. This study highlights the need for state Medicaid programs to include dental services as a benefit. Widespread oral health coverage through Medicaid will improve oral health of beneficiaries and could likely have additional externalities for well-being and satisfaction.
Oswald, Kaleigh. (April 2021). Income and Oral Health: The Relationship Among Medicaid Recipients (Honors Thesis, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/9010.)
Oswald, Kaleigh. Income and Oral Health: The Relationship Among Medicaid Recipients. Honors Thesis. East Carolina University, April 2021. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/9010. September 30, 2023.
Oswald, Kaleigh, “Income and Oral Health: The Relationship Among Medicaid Recipients” (Honors Thesis., East Carolina University, April 2021).
Oswald, Kaleigh. Income and Oral Health: The Relationship Among Medicaid Recipients [Honors Thesis]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; April 2021.
East Carolina University