A recent article from DentistryIQ reports on a new CareQuest Institute survey that concludes, among other things, that Americans are not getting the dental care they need. The survey, according to the article, “is the largest and most comprehensive of its kind, with more than 5,000 participants and 170 questions.”

While CareQuest “will be releasing a series of in-depth reports in the coming weeks and months,” there are three initial and important findings:

  1. An increasing number of people are identifying cost as a reason they avoid dental care. 
  2. “More than half of adults (55%) reported some type of oral health problem in 2022.” The most frequently reported dental problems are “toothache, cracked or broken teeth, swollen or bleeding gums, and frequent dry mouth.” 
  3. The vast majority of adults (96%) “know that there is a connection” between oral health and overall health. 

In a sentence, most American adults understand the importance of oral care, and more than half have oral health problems, but they are not receiving the care they need, primarily because of cost.

This is where you come in. As a broker, you have access to a product – dental insurance – that is very affordable and can help fill a big need in the market. 

It is true that the cost of dental insurance, when compared with the benefit, is relatively high. For instance, if it costs $40 per month, or $480 per year, for a dental plan with a $1,000 annual limit, some people may question whether it’s even worth it. Couldn’t the member simply deposit that money into a Health Savings Account and then use it to pay with tax-free dollars when they need dental care?

They could, but often times they won’t. Here are few reasons to recommend dental insurance to your clients:

  • Many people are not disciplined enough to save money on a regular basis for future health care expenses. Those same people, though, will make their monthly premium payments if they have a dental insurance plan.
  • While the annual maximum benefit on most dental plans is low relative to the premium, it is still a benefit. If somebody needs $1,000 in dental care, isn’t it better to pay half that amount to the insurance company than the full amount to the dentist?
  • The amount the insurance company pays is not the only benefit of a dental plan. A second benefit is access to a network of dentists who will provide discounts off their normal rate. The negotiated amounts can save members hundreds of dollars per year if they visit in-network dentists.
  • Perhaps most importantly, people with dental insurance tend to go to the dentist while people without dental insurance tend not to go to the dentist. A 2019 study by the American Association of Public Health Dentistry found that “Dental insurance coverage increases dental care utilization and is associated with better oral health,” and an article in the AMA Journal of Ethics states that “Dental care utilization trends have been driven in large part by trends in dental insurance coverage.”

Long story short: People need dental care, and it appears that cost, not education, is the biggest barrier to accessing dental care. Dental insurance helps make dental care more affordable, and people with dental coverage are more likely to receive dental care than those without dental coverage.

To learn about the dental solutions AHCP offers, or to get appointed with the dental carriers we represent, click here.