The Effects of Medicaid and CHIP Policy Changes on Receipt of Preventive Care Among Children

Increasing reimbursements for well-child visits and preventive dental care increased the number of children who received preventive care in Kentucky and Idaho; other policy changes included incentives and new delivery systems.

Well-child visits and childhood dental care are forms of preventive care; they can lead to early diagnosis of developmental and behavioral health problems. However, physicians are reluctant to offer well-child visits through Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) because of low reimbursement rates. In 2006, Kentucky and Idaho increased reimbursements for well-child visits and preventive dental care.

This paper evaluates efforts in Kentucky and Idaho to increase preventive care through Medicaid and CHIP. The authors examined Medicaid and CHIP enrollment and claims from before and after the increases in well-child visit reimbursements. The article provides general background regarding the policy changes.

Key Findings:

  • In Kentucky, there were increases only for preventive dental visits.
  • In Idaho, children were more likely to have well-child care and preventive dental visits after the policy changes.

This article appears in a special issue of the journal HSR: Health Services Research. The study was carried out through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s State Health Access Reform Evaluation (SHARE). SHARE guides the implementation of health reform and supports research on the expansion of health insurance coverage.