Montana Faces Barriers to Helping Refugees Access Dental Care
Refugees often spend more than 10 years in refugee camps before they begin the resettlement process in another country. During those 10 years, they often have little to no access to dental care. With an increase in the number of refugees resettling in the United States (125,000 in 2023 compared to 18,000 in 2020), the state of Montana is working to eliminate some of the barriers faced by refugees who start anew in the “treasure state.” Refugees in Montana are immediately placed on the state’s Medicaid program which offers full dental benefits. As is common across the US, finding dentists who accept patients covered by Medicaid is a struggle even though Montana’s reimbursement rate for dental providers is higher than the national average. Another barrier is the availability of and expense of medical interpreters. Transportation and wait times also pose challenges. Three private dental clinics are currently serving refugee populations in Missoula. Click here to read more.