The Urban Institute study surveyed adults aged 18-65 who were fully insured in March 2015, asking if they unmet medical needs because of affordability. About 28% of those surveyed said, yes, they did have unmet medical needs. Of course with unmet medical needs, 71% had unmet dental needs. In other words, more than 20% of all adults surveyed had unmet dental needs. In fact, for nearly 30% of those with unmet dental needs, nearly 30% said that dental needs were their only unmet needs, although about 42% said that unmet dental care needs were among other unmet dental care needs.
Because the ACA doesn’t provide for dental insurance for adults, in other words, it has left millions of Americans without necessary dental coverage.
Would Dental Coverage Help?
This study doesn’t focus on whether individuals had dental coverage or not, but there are some intriguing links that suggest dental coverage would make dental treatment more affordable.
For example, the survey shows that people whose health insurance is provided by their employer were less likely to have unmet dental care needs. Employer-provided insurance is more likely to include dental insurance, or come with the option of getting dental insurance, making it a lot easier for people to afford their dental care. There is a kind of reciprocal effect, too, because the jobs that pay more are also more likely to come with insurance, but even with higher income, coverage makes a difference. About 90% of respondents with income over 400% of the Federal Poverty Level had insurance provided by their employer. But those that don’t have employer-provided insurance were nearly 50% more likely to have unmet dental needs, suggesting that dental insurance coverage would help people meet their dental care needs.
If you have unmet dental care needs due to affordability, we do everything we can to help you get the care you need with financing and other payment options. To learn more, please call (610) 272-0828 for an appointment with a Philadelphia dentist at Dental Excellence of Blue Bell.