This study evaluates how large changes in public health insurance coverage affect provider behavior and patient wait times by analyzing a common type of primary care: dental services. When states expand coverage of dental services to adult Medicaid beneficiaries, dentists’ participation in Medicaid increases and dentists see more publicly insured patients. Dentists supply more visits but only modestly increase the amount of time spent working. They achieve this in part by making greater use of dental hygienists. Wait times increase modestly, with the largest increases in wait times observed in states with restrictive scope of practice laws governing dental hygienists.
Source: American Economic Association