A peer-reviewed journal that offers evidence-based clinical information and continuing education for dentists.

North Carolina Expands 
Medicaid but not Reimbursement


The state of North Carolina recently expanded Medicaid and included dental benefits, enabling more than 500,000 North Carolinians to receive professional oral health services. Unfortunately, only about 45% of the state’s dentists accept Medicaid, making it challenging for those covered by the public insurance program to access regular dental care. According to NC Health News, of those dentists who accept Medicaid, many are no longer accepting new patients.

The stumbling block for most dentists — not only in North Carolina but across the United States — is crippling low reimbursement rates. In North Carolina, dental reimbursement rates have remained the same for the past 15 years, regardless of the consistently increasing cost of providing dental care. Without adequate funding from the state legislature, the oral health of North Carolina’s vulnerable populations will remain in jeopardy.

Rural areas always suffer the most, having little ability to attract dentists, many of whom leave dental school nearly $300,000 in debt. Efforts are underway to address this shortage, with discussions about incentivizing new dentists to work in rural areas through various programs and initiatives, including different forms of loan forgiveness.

From Decisions in Dentistry. January/February 2024; 10(1):10

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