Dental service use in Medicaid & other MHCP enrollees

Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP) enrollees’ dental service use by:


Dentals service use among low income Minnesotans with Minnesota health insurance

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) administers the Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP) for qualifying low income Minnesotans. The two major programs included in this data:

  • Medical Assistance (MA): Minnesota’s Medicaid program for people with low income. MA is Minnesota’s largest health care program and serves children and families, pregnant women, adults without children, seniors and people who are blind or have a disability. Enrollees receive health care through health plans or on a fee-for-service basis, with providers billing the state directly for services they provide.
  • MinnesotaCare: a program for Minnesotans with low incomes who do not have access to affordable health care coverage. Enrollees get health care services through a health plan. Funding for MinnesotaCare comes from a state tax on Minnesota hospitals and health care providers, Basic Health Program funding, and enrollee premiums and cost sharing.

Medicaid recipients under age 21 are required to have dental coverage under federal and state law (all medically necessary services as defined by the Department of Human Services).

Federal law does not require Medicaid to provide dental benefits to adults ages 21 years and older. However, the state of Minnesota provides limited coverage of dental care for non-pregnant adults including preventive services and one dental exam per calendar year.

To learn more about MHCP programs, including eligibility criteria and dental benefits visit: Minnesota Health Care Programs overview.

3 in 10 MHCP enrollees receive at least one dental service a year

3 out of every 10
MHCP enrollees (32.4%)


At least one dental service

A dental service use is any diagnostic, preventive, or treatment service provided by or under the supervision of a dentist.  In 2015, 32 percent of Minnesota Health Care Program (MHCP) enrollees received at least one dental service.


Dental service use among Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP)
enrollees by age group, 2015

Age group (years) Total number MHCP enrollees Number MHCP enrollees dental service use Percent MHCP enrollees dental service use within age groups(row percent) 95% Confidence Interval
0 to 5 202,841 46,565 23.0% 21.0 to 24.9
6 to 20 403,505 176,193 43.7% 41.4 to 46.0
21 to 55 621,343 177,906 28.6% 26.5 to 30.7
56 to 69 132,021 42,990 32.6% 30.4 to 34.7
70 to 84 34,917 10,476 30.0% 27.9 to 32.1
85 to 100 21,399 5,243 24.5% 22.5 to 26.5
Total 1,416,026 459,373 32.4% 30.3 to 34.6

A dental service is any diagnostic, preventive, or treatment service provided by or under the supervision of a dentist. Data include all Minnesota Health Care Program (MHCP) enrollees ages up to 100 years with at least one dental claim submitted during the calendar year (January 1 through December 31). See About the Data: Medicaid Dental Claims for more information.

Source: Minnesota Department of Human Services. Minnesota Health Care Programs Dental Services Recipients by County of Residence, Program Category and Age.

Among Minnesota Health Care Program enrollees who received at least one dental service during 2015, the majority were between the ages of 6 and 20 years (44 percent).

Children under age 6 years were 1.5 times less likely to have received a dental service compared to those ages 6 to 84 years.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend at least one dental visit each year, starting by a child’s first birthday, when the first tooth appears, or whichever comes first.


Minnesota Health Care Programs Enrollees
Dental Service Use, 2015

Childhood poverty based on free/reduced price lunch eligibility, school year 2014-2015

In 2015, counties with the least dental service use included Rock (14 percent) and Pipestone (19 percent). Counties with the most dental service use included Cook (42 percent) and Itasca (41 percent).

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