Insight & Analysis / Colorado's Dental Desert Landscape
CHI’s newest report – More Dental Insurance: Enough Dental Care? – reveals that Coloradans in 15 counties have limited access to dental care. Eight counties do not have a dentist offering care - neither a private practicing dentist nor a Federally Qualified Health Center offering dental care. Additionally, there are seven counties in which Federally Qualified Health Centers are the only sources of dental services. These 15 counties – our state’s dental deserts - are highlighted in the map below.
Medicaid enrollees living in several Colorado counties have no options for dental care. There are nine counties in the state that do not have a private practice dentist who accepts Medicaid or a Federally Qualified Health Center. When combined with counties that have no dental services, Medicaid enrollees in 17 counties do not have a local source for dental care. Colorado policy decisions to add dental benefits for adults in Medicaid and to raise the income limit for Medicaid eligibility have set the stage for a projected 844,000 Coloradans enrolled in Medicaid by 2016, all with dental benefits.
For CHI’s predictions on how this expansion of benefits will impact the oral health workforce and for analysis of efforts and initiatives to improve access to dental care, you can read the full report here.