Easing Financial Worries Lead to More Visits
According the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the number of patients who put off dental care due to financial concerns has been declining since the recession ended.
While it’s no secret that many den – tists aren’t as busy as they would like to be, there is reason for optimism at the scheduling desk, thanks to data that suggest business is coming back. According the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the number of patients who put off dental care due to financial concerns has been declining since the recession ended. And while that’s true across all age demographics, pediatric visits are the brightest stars on the comeback trail.
Since 2010, however, more patients in each age group have set aside financial trepidations in order to seek needed dental care
Comparing data from 2003, 2010 and 2013 National Health Interview surveys,* all three age categories — pediatric patients, adults ages 18 to 64, and adults age 65 and older — show costdriven declines in visits between 2003 and 2010. Since 2010, however, more patients in each age group have set aside financial trepidations in order to seek needed dental care.
Nowhere is this more evident than among pediatric patients. Although we’ve seen improvements in both adult age categories since the recession, 2013 survey data show that, by a 2.6%-point margin, the number of adults who delayed treatment due to cost surpassed levels from 10 years earlier. Not so in the pediatric population, however, as the 2013 rate is lower than in 2003 (4.9% versus 5.6%, respectively — a 0.7%- point improvement). Whether it’s due to pediatric dental benefits under federal programs or private coverage gained through health care insurance exchanges, it seems that, more and more, cost concerns are not getting in the way of kids’ treatment.
Down Means Up, Up Means Down
Percentage of patients who did not seek needed dental care due to financial reasons.* Remember: Down is good.
Looking at working-age adults, 14.3% of this patient population delayed treatment due to economic reasons in 2013. On the bright side, this represents a 3.0%-point comeback from the 17.3% rate reported in 2010. More specifically, women in this vital patient segment are finding the financial wherewithal to seek professional care, as this subset shows a 3.2%-point improvement since 2010. This gives them bragging rights by the slimmest of margins over the 2.9%-point improvement shown by working-age males. Now who’s the smarter sex?