Preventive Dental Care Associated with Lower Costs for Patients with Chronic Conditions

HARRISBURG, Pa./PRNewswire/ — People with chronic health conditions who received preventive dental care covered by BlueCross Dental benefits had fewer costly emergency room visits and hospital stays than those who did not, according to a new study from the Capital BlueCross family of companies.

The 2-year study conducted by Capital BlueCross, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and two independent companies, analyzed paid claims between July 2015 and June 2017 for individuals with and without BlueCross Dental coverage who had a diagnosis for one or more chronic conditions, such as asthma, congestive heart failure, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers looked at the differences in medical cost and utilization between Capital BlueCross members with chronic conditions and BlueCross Dental coverage, who have received preventive dental services and those who have not received preventive dental services.

The study found people with chronic conditions but without BlueCross Dental coverage had a 7% higher incidence rate of inpatient hospital stays than those with BlueCross Dental coverage who received a preventive dental service. Those who had BlueCross Dental coverage but did not receive preventive dental services had a 19% higher incidence rate of emergency department visits than those with BlueCross Dental coverage who received preventive dental services.

“The findings of this study reinforce how integrating medical and dental coverage and care can be associated with improved health and lower costs for those dealing with chronic medical issues,” says Gary St. Hilaire Capital BlueCross President and CEO.

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