Report: Most kids on Medicaid don’t get dental care

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A new report commissioned by advocacy groups says many low-income kids and seniors are going without dental care.

The report by the PEW Charitable Trust said there are many parts of Michigan facing a shortage of dentists. Also, many people don’t use dental services when they’re available.

The new state budget expands dental benefits for children, but Karlene Katola of the Michigan Oral Health Coalition said many Medicaid-eligible children live too far from a dentist.

“Their families cannot find a dental provider, or they just don’t know the importance of their Medicaid coverage related to dental.”

The report says, in 2013, 60 percent of Medicaid-eligible children went without dental care. Also, half of seniors in assisted living have gone a year or more without seeing a dentist.

The state Department of Health and Human Services says the new state budget will extend Medicaid dental coverage to another 290 thousand kids.