Many Avoid the Dentist Due to High Cost
More than any other type of health care, Americans are more likely to skip recommended dental care because of the cost, according to researchers. A recent study showed that 13 percent of working-age adults in the U.S. avoid needed dental care due to the expense.
The study showed that dental care cost is a factor even for many adults with private dental insurance. Dental insurance plans often include maximum yearly benefits and high co-pays—especially for care beyond basic dental exams. This is a serious problem, as avoiding dental care can affect overall health.
The good news is that since 2010, the percentage of people avoiding dental care due to the cost has decreased. In 2014, it was the lowest since 2003. However, in 2015, 40 percent of dental care costs were out-of-pocket, compared to 11 percent of total health care spending. The answer may be an overhaul of the dental insurance model—instead of "pay per procedure," perhaps dental benefits should be structured to encourage dentists to care for patients' overall dental health.
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