Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Study Suggests Few Older Americans Have Dental Insurance
InsuranceNewsNet reported Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research on Medicare beneficiaries, published in the December issue of the journal Health Affairs, suggests that “only 12 percent of older Americans have some form of dental insurance and fewer than half visited a dentist in the previous year.” Such “an enormous unmet need for dental insurance among those 65 and older in the United States” means older adults are “at risk for oral health problems that could be prevented or treated with timely dental care, including tooth decay, gum disease and loss of teeth.” The research also highlights “the financial burden associated with dental visits, among both the insured and uninsured.” Study author Amber Willink, PhD, an assistant scientist in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School, said, “With fewer and fewer retiree health plans covering dental benefits, we are ushering in a population of people with less coverage and who are less likely to routinely see a dentist. We need to think about cost-effective solutions to this problem.”
MouthHealthy.org provides a guide to finding and paying for dental care, listing factors to consider when determining if purchasing a dental benefit plan will save money on dental care costs.