The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) recently noted ran an editorial looking at the major challenges facing dentistry in America. They highlighted four issues that will likely prevent Americans from seeing significant improvement in their oral health in coming decades.
At River Edge Dental, we are aware of these challenges, and we’re trying to address them. The leading challenge is the insurance coverage gap, and we’re trying to address this problem with our REconomy Dental Savings Plan.
Closing One Gap, Opening Another
In the JADA editorial, the author, Marko Vujicic, notes that from one standpoint, society has done a great job of improving dental coverage. In terms of children getting coverage, we are doing great. Only 10% of children don’t have dental insurance coverage, which is much less than it’s been in even the recent past. As a result, more children are getting dental care than ever.
But the story is very different for adults and seniors. About 20% of working age adults lack dental coverage, which has held study or even slightly increased. For seniors, the situation is much worse: only 12% of them have dental coverage.
The reason for the disparity is partly the empathy gap. Americans find it easy to vote for programs to help children get access to insurance and therefore healthcare. But there is less empathy for adults that lack dental insurance. It is harder to get Americans to support dental coverage for adults and seniors who don’t have insurance. And while many working age adults have coverage through work, they lose that coverage when they retire.
The other reason is the divided nature of our healthcare system. While many adults who are poor quality for Medicaid, and most adults who are retired qualify for Medicare, this insurance system is focused on types of care other than dental care. There is just no program in place that provides dental insurance for these adults and seniors.
And, unfortunately, insurance coverage has a huge influence on whether people go to see their dentist. When asked if they plan to visit the dentist in the next year, 86% of those with private insurance said they did. Only about 27% of those without insurance saw a dentist in the previous year, compared to 65% of those with insurance.
An Alternative to Insurance
Fortunately, adults and seniors without insurance can take advantage of a new program we’re offering as an alternative to dental insurance, the REconomy Dental Savings Plan. This plan allows members to get all the basic exams, screenings, and x-rays that are recommended as part of the basic membership–they’re free. In addition, members also get discounts for most procedures we offer, including many that just aren’t covered by insurance. Members get a 20% discount on many general dentistry procedures such as sealants, fillings, and root canal therapy. Members also get 15% off many restorative and cosmetic dentistry procedures, such as crowns, veneers, and dental implants.
The REconomy Dental Savings Plan is a way for people to work directly with their dentist to get the dental care they need at a significant savings.
Do you want to learn more about the REconomy Dental Savings Plan? Please call 201-343-4044 today for an appointment at River Edge Dental, where you can learn more details about the plan.