Briefs and Reports

Understanding the Connecticut Dental Medicaid Reform Proposal: State Options in Contracting Dental Care in Medicaid

In 2003, the Connecticut Health Foundation prepared this policy brief to examine the multiple options states have for arranging dental services in their Medicaid programs. This brief will:

  • Describe the various program options and related decisions facing states as they determine how to obtain dental care for their beneficiaries
  • Present arguments (pro and con) for each decision
  • Comment on the lessons to be derived from various states’ efforts

Experience across the nation suggests that options in program administration, in and of themselves, hold little promise of improving access. For states, each decision – whether or not to contract to man- aged care, carve dental in or out, put contractors at risk, or engage single or multiple vendors – has its benefits and advantages.

Evidence suggests, however, that these decisions are not the primary determinants of success in increasing access to dental care for low-income beneficiaries. Rather, success depends primarily upon:

  • Sufficiency of payments
  • Sufficiency of provider availability
  • Strong program oversight


  • Burton L. Edelstein, D.D.S., M.P.H., through the Children’s Dental Health Project in Washington, D.C.